Live More Happy
Living Loving and Traveling the World
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My dear friend Jolie Dawn just featured me as an “Empowered, Sexy & Free” woman in her book re-launch.

It feels inauthentic when I look at it. I have not felt any of those things lately.

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How fitting though, that Jolie was one of the key people who pushed me to begin writing more openly and honestly so here I am, challenging myself to share myself and once again feel empowered & free.

Its been very hard to write lately.

I take that back.

Its been very hard to share lately.

Not only because I have been so busy with my new project, a renovation of a run down beach house in Baja into a vacation rental, but for many reasons.

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My spirit has felt broken.

I feel like I have suffered some serious losses lately. I lost my passion project business, Givebackpackers to a lovestruck, obsessive computer programmer that stole the company by creating a competing website with the same name, to force me to work with him. I’ve been harassed by this “friend” who wanted more than friendship for months now, causing me to fear for my safety and my security.  

I lost my boyfriend of a year because of his health issues and have felt like I am constantly defending our mutual decision to people who just don’t understand how “love just wasn’t enough.”

I lost a lot more money than I anticipated on this Mexico house, discovering everything from the floors, kitchen, windows to the plumbing and electrical needed to be completely replaced before even beginning to furnish.

And besides just money, I have lost time and faith, hiring people who stole from me, took advantage of my kindness and lacked the support of the neighborhood that I was expecting going into this project.

Watching my stepmom’s health struggle to return with more chemo than was expected while my best friend is going through the same heartbreak of watching her mom fight cancer has been emotionally exhausting.

I am living in a constant state of defending myself, picking myself back up and forcing a smile.

I’m a strong person because of everything that I have been through my whole life, parenting myself from the time I was 5 years old to starting a business in a recession after dropping out of college to traveling the world alone.

There’s so much I can face without fear but being on the defense all the time is exhausting.

I can play offense. It’s easy to be the one running down the field but much scarier to have someone running at you.

I’ve defended my choices and my business, my house and my freedom. I’ve even had to defend my writing.

I’ve been hurt by the things people have said to me and behind my back. I’ve been tired of defending who I am, what I have created and why.

I feel tired of defending and tired of being vulnerable. I want to shut it all down and hide away.

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I’m afraid of being rejected or hurt any more. I’m afraid I won’t be able to be strong through any more of it.

I’m a strong person but I am sensitive. I know that I do not have to defend myself to the people who matter. The ones that matter already know me and love and support me and the ones who I feel defensive to, do not matter.

I have held off for months on sharing my writing and my thoughts and these insane experiences. I have been biting my tongue to feel safe and supported. I have been seeking comfort and stability and ways to nurture myself.

I am writing and sharing this because I find strength in my honesty. I am not a fake person. I do not need to be adored by the masses and make everyone else feel comfortable at the expense of my own freedom.

So if you are reading this with anything but love, why are you reading?

If you are reading this with love and support in your heart, thank you. You are why I share.

 

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The last post I wrote was about how I created a relationship I love. It was all 100% true and I am glad I posted it just in time.

This is a letter about how I ended that relationship about a week later.

As much as I wanted to turn inwards and deal with this privately, I know that I have invited so many of you reading this to join me on the journey of life and love we are ultimately all sharing. (I just choose to share mine a little more openly) With that comes great rewards and connection with people but it also comes with responsibilities, to myself, to the ones I care about (and write about) and to you, Reader, to be completely honest, vulnerable and open.

My most popular blog was about a terrible breakup I had that tore me apart. I learned so much from that experience and while I am still struggling with losing such a huge part of my life, I hope that this post can be just as popular, inspiring anyone to invite this same possibility into their life. (The hope for all my blog posts)

My love for Perry is real. From the minute we met I felt so at ease and comfortable with him. Everything was easy, no questions or doubts or struggles. We could talk for hours and laugh or sit in silence and watch the waves. We had adventures and enjoyed just relaxing. We talked about marriage and travels and never fought. We gave each other support and love but also space and trust to do what each of us needed to do in order to be our best selves.

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Right now, that includes going our own ways. It’s so hard to think about, I can’t believe it’s even true still but sometimes in life, love is not enough. The past few months we saw that each of us need different things in our lives right now to be the best we could be. We let each other go because we love each other that much.

Perry has been bravely battling chronic pain from his professional cycling career and I have stood by him every day, supporting him in his fight to get better. There is no cure besides time and an intense therapy and rehab schedule, about 4 hours a day, that I can’t really help with. Its been such a struggle but a lesson in patience, compassion and acceptance. I learned more about my own ability to love unconditionally, support someone else in their challenges while still putting myself and my needs as a priority. It’s easy to make someone else your focus when you are in love. Its easy to lose yourself and put yourself on the back burner in order to be fully present for someone else.

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I wanted so badly to DO something to help Perry. I found specialists, read articles, supported him through his intense schedule of appointments and treatments but still ended up disappointed when there weren’t any significant signs of improvements.

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My desire for him to get better so we could finally start our lives together added to his stress and hindered his improvement. Planning trips, planning our future, it all was on indefinite hold and we felt like we were in limbo.

Meanwhile he has been working full time as CEO of Merritt Bookkeeping, I have been growing my projects and companies. Juggling travel, volunteer work and social life while also trying to manage my own stress, anxiety and health has been crazy.

It has been quite the balance and we have done it well. We have always come from a place of love and kindness with each other. We don’t keep secrets and we don’t lie or try to manipulate each other. We had an honest conversation months ago about travel and business and all the different things we have going on. We knew that our lives were on two different tracks but we love each other too much to quit.

One day it was just time to adjust, get on our own track and release the tether to each other. We released each other with love, friendship, support and ease. Just as it was when we met, and the 10 months we spent together, we loved each other with peace and an emotional maturity I didn’t ever think was possible.

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These are uncharted territories. How do you break up with someone you love and get along with? How do you tell your friends and family? How do you adjust?

I don’t know, except to follow my heart, be kind and honest and continue to send love and my healing energy his way, even while giving him the space he asked from me. (It’s too hard to be checking in and “keeping in touch” right now.) I understand and I think too many people use the excuse:

“I know you said you wanted space but I just…”

If someone asks for space and you love them, give them their damn space. That is love. You asking for their time anyways is saying you don’t care about them as much as you care about yourself and your own needs. I see this happening all around me with my friends and I am committed to still respecting and caring for Perry in whatever aspect he needs of me while taking care of myself.

This is the easiest breakup I have ever experienced and the hardest. We are nice to each other, take turns watching over the cat and he even changed my locks for me when I was out of town and needed help dealing with a stalker. (That’s another story and some absolute bullshit I don’t need right now!)

Perry and I share the same values and dreams for the future, but the present moment calls for us to be apart. Who knows what the future holds but for now, I’m just crying in my bed, holding my cat. 

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With Love,

Lindsay

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I’ve dealt with anxiety as long as I can remember.
As a child I was a nail biting, thumb sucking little ball of energy who carried my teddy bear, Mr. Kamunka, with me everywhere I went. Growing up an only child of an alcoholic mother meant finding comfort in any way possible. My parents divorced when I was three, thankfully, because hiding in a closet from the fighting is still one of my first memories.

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I remember so many nights as a small child not knowing where my mom was or what kind of mood she would be in when she got home. Would she be sweet and wake me up with a surprise or would she be sick or would she be angry, looking for someone to take it out on? Often times she was just crying and sad and needed someone to listen to her. I was always all of those for her.
My childhood was a roller coaster and while she eventually gave up all parental responsibility to my dad, she still would show up randomly, outside our house, when she was needing someone to vent to. The neighbors didn’t appreciate it and I didn’t either. I never felt safe or secure. She would show up wasted or high to my school or soccer games and pick fights with anyone who said something to her. Once she locked me in a bathroom because I embarrassed her in front of the McDonalds clerk who she was probably trying to flirt with for free food during our first time together in months.
As a teenager, I desperately tried to connect with her during her sober stints, spending summers in Las Vegas with her and her new baby, my amazing little half-brother, Kellen. (I say “half” to explain the paternal difference, although he is very much my full brother by heart!)

IMG_3144 I wanted to be close with them but watching her put him through the same roller coaster and often times worse situations, was something that tortured my heart and made me angry beyond belief. I was experiencing panic attacks in school and doctors put me on xanax and ativan at 16 to keep my anxiety under control.
I eventually cut her out completely and focused on the things I could control in my life and vowed to never be weak like her. I pushed myself to start my own career and be reliable to the people I cared about. I kept everything under control, quit all medications at 18 and began treating my anxiety herbally. I learned that self discipline was key. I became very hard on myself when I made mistakes because I never wanted to be anything like my mother.

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Feature in LILY+JASPER when I was 23

I did my best to pick up the motherly slack she left with my brother, who like me, ended up bouncing around with his father and father’s family most his childhood. I resented her for not being there for him, for leaving me with the hole to fill but it motivated me to be better for him and to show him what the possibilities are when you work through the darkness.

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All of this has been like a shadow in the beautiful life I have created for myself. As a child I didn’t share it because cruel kids made fun of me. As a teen I didn’t want to seem weird or different. As an adult I didn’t want to share my story because I didn’t want anyone’s pity or to be defined by it. “Wow, you have come so far considering…” YUCK.
I worked harder to make the stories less powerful over me, yet the anxiety never subsided.working hard

I had to heal the root of the problem and I set out to forgive and set myself free. I went to workshops, personal development seminars, I wrote closure letters, I read books and joined support groups. I surrounded myself with positive people and created a community. I found myself no longer hating her, but feeling sorry for her that she was not a part of my life. I had created such amazing things and people around me but she was unable to share it with me.

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EvoRoom community in San Diego

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Full Circle Venice Beach community center

My brother and I became closer than ever and have had the most honest  talks about addiction and mental illness. I have been able to share the wisdom and the knowledge I earned on my own, with him. He knows I am always here for him no matter what and most importantly, I know it too.baby brother
Almost two years ago I saw her walking down the street in my neighborhood in San Diego and I pulled over and got out to talk to her. She was so high and angry and incoherent I couldn’t have a conversation like I had hoped but I gave her a hug and drove off, with sadness and love in my heart. I didn’t hate her. I wanted her to find peace, like I had.

A few months later, while planning what I thought was my next chapter in life, marriage and my own family, I learned my soon-to-be-fiancee had been having an affair, and my world came to a screeching halt. I had been betrayed and abandoned again. I wasn’t safe in my own home I had created with him and I could not trust him or myself. I felt all the same wounds open back up deeper than before.

What was wrong with me that the people I love and trust most, treat me like I’m disposable?

Then the anxiety came back and the nightmares began to get worse. I felt like I was starting all over and then some. I was determined to heal as quickly as possible, to get back to the peace I had felt before learning the truth about him. I went to women’s groups, energy healers, seminars, workshops, tropical getaways and still, no matter how packed my schedule was with positive productivity, I could not shake the anxiety and nightmares.

yoga lindsayI would replay scenarios and lies he told me over and over in my head. I couldn’t stop trying to “solve the case” even months after I had “moved on.” Desperate for answers, sitting on a beach in Bali, staring off into the gorgeous sea and feeling anxious in paradise again, I searched for alternative therapy in San Diego. I was going to give it a try as soon as I got back. I couldn’t deal with another beautiful morning wasted, waking up in paradise, from a nightmare, about some douche bag thousands of miles away. ( Apparently, spending years dealing with a sociopath can cause PTSD. )

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Luckily, a trusted friend recommended her closest friend, Kristyn, a hypnotherapist in San Diego and I booked four sessions right away. I went into each session with a very open mind and willingness to absorb my own insights and to heal. I was ready to release and forgive and feel peace in my heart. I finally finished all four within a few months but the improvement was apparent in the first few weeks.

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The nightmares stopped, my nail biting subsided to where I was able to quit getting fake nails and finally wear my natural nails with out shame.

healthy nailsBoth of my businesses took off in a really big way and I suddenly was not angry at my ex anymore. I found my old blackberry full of messages and photos from our first year together and I was not sad or angry, but nostalgic for a happy time in my life and I felt excited for what was ahead and having that kind of happiness again, but for real this time. I was finally free and even my best friends said they could see a difference in me.

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I’ve been able to take my meditation practice to a new level. Before working with Kristyn I could never quiet my thoughts, especially before bed. Now I put on a guided meditation almost every night and morning and can find myself at peace. Even the one time I dreamed about my ex since our sessions, instead of there being a altercation or argument, I just kept on walking past our house. I just kept on walking. It felt good to wake up from that one. I had found the release I needed.

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As I sit on another beach in paradise, writing this, I am grateful for the difficult people and the pain they caused because I have learned to over come the struggle and abandonment and feelings that I am not lovable. I have learned to forgive and find peace in my heart. Without drugs, with out alcohol, without sex or shopping or any other crutches. (although I admit I have a travel problem, hee hee) I have found the healing I needed right inside myself. Its been there all along and its up to me to keep it.

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Suffering from a broken heart, anxiety, depression or just lost in life?

My favorite books: Love, Freedom & Aloneness by OSHO, Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci, & A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

My Love, Life & Self Expression Coach: Jess Johnson

My Hypnotherapist: Kristyn Caetano

Connect with your community! Get involved, give back and donate your time to those that need it. Nothing makes me feel better than helping others.

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In 31 days I have seen nine countries and each time I have left a bit of my heart behind.

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Every time the plane lifts off the runway, my heart feels heavy, like a piece of me is still somewhere far off in the distance in the streets, jungles and beaches I have learned to love.

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With two weeks left on this trip, I am sad to see this adventure end, but excited for what is ahead for our company, Givebackpackers and my future travel plans.

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Traveling like this is a lesson in loving unconditionally and without attachment. Like a romance, you enter a foreign place with an idea of what you want, but are given so much more through excitement, mystery, adventure and also, the challenges. You throw yourself into the culture, wander the streets lost and open to discoveries of yourself and the city.

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Like a new lover, you clumsily learn your way around, marvel at the beauty of the new sights and allow your breath to be taken, unexpectedly. Your heart expands as you learn the pain in their history, feeling compassion and inspired by their resilience.

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Although you know it will not last, you spend each day with your new place, soaking it all up and wanting to learn as much as you can before parting ways. Your time together is short but you make it as sweet as possible, loving without knowing when you will visit again and leaving without holding on. 

lake como italy italia travel wanderlust adventure  Like with all love, you cannot keep it or own but the memories and the photos.

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Travel is my lover.

September 27, 2014

I’ve had a lot of bad days. We all have. Contrary to what our facebook profiles might reflect, life is hard and sometimes it knocks us down so hard, no status or instagram filter can even begin to express how we feel.

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I scroll back through social media history, my timelines, messages and photos and see so many amazing memories, adventures, trips and friends, its hard to even believe the pain I have gone through the last year. You probably wouldn’t believe it by looking at my profiles or blog either. Here’s the truth, without shame or fear of what you might think, because the ugly parts are just as important.

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A year ago today, September 27th, 2013, my heart broke. I think it cracked right down the middle.

As I was flipping through photos on my boyfriends ipad, in our beautiful house by the beach, that together, we made a home, my stomach dropped as I saw photos of girls I recognized, models he had shot for his clients’ photoshoots the last few months, but they weren’t from any photoshoot. There were dozens of  photos of different girls, shameless selfies, photos of him in our bed he had definitely never sent me.  Even screenshots of naked pics from Snapchat. (Yeah, you think its a safe route, ladies?)

Even writing about it now makes me shake and feel sick.

I was in disbelief. I completely lost my mind that day, and while he was giving his Oscar worthy performance to prove his love for me and his “commitment to living a life of integrity,”

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I was getting all the details from the girls who I easily identified and were already fed up with his lies and manipulation.

One girl told me she felt terrible when she realized he “still” had a girlfriend and ended things with him after months of dating. He continued to pursue her until the day I caught him. She said he had convinced her we were done, that I had moved out but my stuff was still there. (He forgot to mention I was also paying rent.)

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She sent me the letters he sent her with the same things he told me, showed me cards and photos of coffee and flowers he delivered her while I was away, working.

She even told me the day he had flown to Vegas to surprise me, picked out an engagement ring and even discussed the story we would tell our grandkids about “this day,” he had woken up in her bed.

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From the day he surprised me in Vegas to take me ring shopping. I was so fooled.

Devastated is a word that is commonly misused, but I think it is fitting to describe how I felt.

I loved him and was not ring shopping and building a life and home together because I enjoy playing pretend. I was in it for real and I was in deep. I loved so hard that it hurt me and my individuality. I gave up parts of myself and my life that I loved because I wanted to sacrifice to show I cared. I lost a lot of who I was and it has taken me a year to regain a lot of it back.

I threw myself into work. I “picked myself back up” instantly because I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I wanted to get back to being happy because, well, I am Miss “Live More Happy.” I didn’t want to be depressed over someone who didn’t value and respect me.

A week later I was giving a talk to 100 entrepreneur women about overcoming obstacles at Inner Goddess Unleashed, and the following weekend I was hosting a fundraiser and coordinating 25 volunteers on a trip to Mexico to visit Door of Faith Orphanage.

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I put my happy face on and got into “do” mode, so that I could avoid “being.” Just being me, being still, being here, meant I had to feel the pain and face the reality. No matter what I did, where I flew off to, I could not escape what I felt inside.

I kept my heart completely guarded. I decided men were of no interest and the ones I did spend time with were distractions, remaining completely unattached and closed off to anyone that could mean anything.

I joked that I built a wall of smart, beautiful and inspiring women around me, but it is true. The kindness, patience, support and love that has poured out of my friends on to me has been the most beautiful acts of friendship I have ever seen.

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Because of this situation, I now feel more connected and loved than ever before in my life. You ladies tolerated me at my worst and loved me even harder. I’m crying for the first time while writing this because of how deeply you have touched my heart.

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In a very “The Other Woman” kind of way, I even have bonded with several of the other girls he was seeing. We have chosen kindness and to support each other, looking past the negative common denominator and have become honest friends over our other common interests. (Let’s face it, he has excellent taste in women.) I had to learn to remove my own insecurity, jealousy and anger and feel empathy for their hurt and frustration as well. (Happy Anniversary to you too, ladies. I love you.)

I have learned more about compassion and self love this past year than in 25 years of being alive. I had to have my heart and trust completely broken. I have shared more about myself, become more vulnerable with the people I know and with people I don’t. I’ve had people I’ve never met reach out to love and support me, tell me they knew how I felt.

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I have attended the School of Inner Beauty, created my own sisterhood retreat centered around community service and purpose, and recently joined the Free Your Voice coaching group where I am stepping outside my comfort zone even further to express my heart through song. I am even shifting my blog from a “database of events and causes” to my personal story with my first person voice to share my journey through the struggle to live more happy. I realized I have been hiding a lot of who I am and by sharing more of myself, my “weakness” and my heartache, I have become closer and more connected to people I never knew were even listening.

I’m certainly closer to myself, and in fact, got engaged to me during a wonderful heARTists way workshop hosted by Debbie Lichter and Jess Johnson.

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Thank YOU for being apart of it. Thank you for reading this and weather you can relate or just think I am crazy, thank you for being here and now, sharing with me in my moment of truth and honesty, regardless of how scared it makes me.

There you have it, my ugly truth. It has been the best year and the worst year, but as much as I used to wish I could go back and somehow change everything, I wouldn’t.

 

One of those girls I discovered in that ipad is still with him, and they just publicly celebrated their year anniversary in July. If they are proud enough to share it, so am I! ;)Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak Red photobooth photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP Red photobooth photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band

 

Well, if the rest is history, here I am! ;)

I am proud to celebrate my year anniversary with myself, my true, honest self, today, September 27, 2014.

*** UPDATE: To read HIS side of the story for an interesting perspective, visit his site***

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Oh, and HelloAmanda, you were right. ;)

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No matter what kind of stressful day I am having, nothing makes me feel more grateful and happy than helping people! We all share the same, basic human needs and regardless of our social status, race or gender, we all get hungry. What better way to connect with others in your community, both serving and receiving assistance, than to volunteer to help feed hungry San Diegans?

Urban Angels now provides dinner service seven days a week, at  5:45pm-7pm at the brand new Connections Housing center,  on 6th and A st in downtown San Diego, distributing meals provided by the generous people at FIT Athletic Club from their “Food @ FIT” program. (Now you can get your healthy meals on the go while at the gym? Perfect!) These meals are healthy and 100% natural. The atmosphere is fun and full of  100% love and gratitude!Connections is working alongside  the PATH program, equally dedicated to end homelessness through support, training and sustainable solutions for people looking to get off the streets for good. This is the FIRST homeless shelter like this in San Diego and we are so excited to be apart of it.

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS , so come on down any day, no need to sign up, just show up and we will be glad to have you.

Just one hour of your week makes a difference to those in our community in need of a smile and to know you care! I promise you will make great friends while you are at it.

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Even kids can help out. Pictured below a group of caring kids wrote positive messages on rice crispy treats and passed them out after dinner.

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We love good causes!!! There are so many, however, here are a few of my favorite. Always Happy to hear of great causes anywhere! Please SHARE! :)

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Virgin Unite: Founded and 100% funded by Virgin mogul, Richard Branson, with the purpose of uniting people and entrepreneurial ideas to reinvent how we live and work in the world to help make people’s lives better. The Virgin Unite goal is to help revolutionize the way businesses, government and the social sector work together – driving business as a force for good!  By also incubating new, independent approaches to leadership including the Elders (a conflict resolution organization co founded by Nelson Mandela), the Carbon War Room, and the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship, they are branching out to even more specific target areas in need of serious reform.

Want to hang with Sir Richard like I did on Necker Island, or South Africa?  A small group of Virgin Unite 24902 members will join Richard Branson on a life-enhancing journey, beyond the imagination one of of their Connection Trips.

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Global Wildlife Conservation: The best research scientists and conservation specialists in the world are working together with GWC to do more than just learn about species and wildlife unknown to us still, but to protect it through action. They are working with local organizations in countries around the world to protect land from development and animals from extinction. These scientists are the real Indiana Joneses, going into the most remote parts of the world on expeditions to study and help protect precious nature from disappearing forever.

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 Urban Angels:  Every Wednesday “Urban Angels” get together to assist at the Salvation Army in Downtown San Diego, distributing meals provided by the generous people at FIT Athletic Club from their “Food @ FIT” program. (Now you can get your healthy meals on the go while at the gym? Perfect!) These meals are healthy and 100% natural. The atmosphere is fun and full of  %100 love and gratitude! Join us this Wednesday at 6pm on 7th and E with parking on 8th.  Just one hour of your week makes a difference to those in our community in need of a smile and to know you care! I promise you will make great friends while you are at it.

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Model Citizen Fund:  MCF wanted to create a way to provide a “fresh start” for those people that need it most, homeless, displaced and victims of disaster, by including a few weeks worth of food & beverages as well as a blanket, poncho, sleeping bag, toiletries, cleaning supplies and many other key items for basic human comforts in a single backpack. They even sponsored our 30 students at the Peruvian Hearts Oprhanage in Cusco with backpacks in case of an emergency in December where we volunteered over the holidays.

 The Karma Foundation, an exclusive social membership organization that combines the benefits of executive networking and philanthropy with money-raising luxury events, has announced the sponsorship of Model Citizen Fund, at their upcoming Kandy Vegas event, with 100 percent of proceeds to benefit Hurricane Isaac victims. Party in Vegas for a Purpose? That is what living Happy is ALL ABOUT!

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mAss Kickers:
 
1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This means you or someone you know has been affected by some form of cancer. This local San Diego organization is run by 100% volunteers, founded by a friend of mine who kicked out a mAss that was not paying rent in his head. He and the rest of our mAss Kicking team are now coordinating events, support, resources and knowledge for newly diagnosed, their families and all warriors against cancer.  mAss Kickers is also partners with Stand Up 2 Cancer and the local organization, International Alliance of Pilots and Patients. (IAP4P) a program creating the incredible experience of flight for people living with chronic illness of cancer and/or brain tumors, literally giving them the wings to soar above their limitations and illness!

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WildCoast: Growing up with the beach as my playground, it is my passion to help protect it. This organization of  strategic, smart, passionate  conservationists are changing legislation, monitoring and protecting water ways and tirelessly working to conserve land by purchasing it before it becomes developed as well as educating people about our need to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. In 2011, WiLDCOAST protected 4,371 acres and 2.3 miles of coastline along the Valle de los Cirios Pacific Coast, conserved 77.7 miles of shoreline around Laguna San Ignacio through an innovative partnership with Mexico’s National Commission for Protected Natural Areas, direct land purchases and conservation easement agreements. To date, WiLDCOAST has conserved more than two million acres of coastal wildlands and wildlife habitat. Their creative campaigns inclue famous models and luchador wrestlers from Mexico, their adopt an acre program as well as throwing really killer parties like the annual Baja Bash!  Pictured here is a Mexican model explaining her man doesnt need turtle eggs… hes man enough. Sex sells and SAVES! ;)

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Three Avocados Coffee: We don’t like to admit it, but coffee makes us SO happy! Now there is a way for us to drink our morning (evening or afternoon) cup for a cause! With almost 1 Billion people worldwide lacking access to clean, safe, drinking water, the primary goal at Three Avocados is to provide funding for clean water projects. 100% of the net proceeds from Three Avocados coffee provide clean water in Uganda, Africa. In addition to saving thousands of lives, clean water has the power to provide hope and a future to people who need it most. The coffee is fantastic, as well. The beans are 100% Arabica and come from Mt. Elgon in Uganda, bordered to the north by Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Now that is one delicious, guilt free, cup o joe!

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Thirst Relief International : Amazing video by a group of philanthropic photographers addressing a global need of clean water! Their video is so worth watching! 

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Urban Angels get together Monday through Thursday to assist in feeding the homeless of Downtown San Diego, distributing meals provided by the generous people at Fit Athletic Club from their health food program, “Food @ FIT.” For more info, see our post on Urban Angels or email Lindsay@LMHpromotions.com

Bows For A Cause:
At 12 years old Cori Gerstein decided she wanted to do something to bring a smile to  the children in the cancer ward of Rady’s Children’s Hospital here in San Diego.  During her stay there last year for a broken finger, Cori saw these children covered in tubes and wires, some without hair and looking sad. Cori was inspired to take her love of craft projects and start making hair bows on headbands for these girls to brighten their day and bring a smile to their face. With that idea, Bows for A Cause was created! She began making them herself and collecting them from others who wanted to help. For Christmas, she delivered 212 bows to the Children’s Hospital! Cori and Live More Happy are collecting bows for this Valentines Day  with our friends at Pura Vida sponsoring the headbands for the bows to go on. Cori and will continue to make and collect bows so please like the facebook page for more information on how to help.

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Team World Changers is a Southern California community service and FUNdraising club dedicated to volunteering, having fun and bringing assistance to non-profits and prhanages in the Southern California and Baja California region.

 

St. Vincent de Paul Village is the largest rehabilitation program for the homeless in San Diego meeting the needs of 900 men, women, and children living at the Village each day. SVDP also prepare more than 3,000 meals a day. Without their dedicated corps of volunteers, their staff could not provide the comprehensive range of services and programs to assist the homeless and needy neighbors who turn to them for help. Wherever you choose to volunteer, their staff looks forward to the opportunity to work with you to meet the needs of those in the community who rely on St. Vincent de Paul Village for assistance with food, shelter, clothing, job training, education, counseling, medical care, child care, case management, information and referral and other resources that we provide.

Our Volunteer Opportunities Include:
Activities Aid (Accompany staff
to the Food Banks, etc.)
Administrative Support
Adult Education Teachers/Tutors
(reading, math, language,
GED preparation, etc.)
Barbers/Hairstylists
Building Maintenance Assistants
Dentists, Doctors, and Nurses
Ebay Sales, Research and Packaging
Fitness and Wellness Instructors
Homework Tutors
Information and Referral Specialists
(Front Desk)
Life Skills Instructors
Mail Sorters
Mentoring Children or Teens
Minister of Music
Minister of Worship
Residential Aides
Meal Servers
Special Events
Thriftstore Sales Assistants
Veterinarians

All volunteer visits MUST be scheduled in advance. For general volunteer information, please call (619) 645-6411 or email volunteer@neighbor.org.

 

Want even MORE chances to get involved? Here is a great site where you can find a cause in need of volunteers! 

“Be the Change You Wish To See In The World”

Change volunteer help homeless give back

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How can a simple sweet question have so much pressure behind it? I have always loved Valentines day, or any holiday or any day really that was different and fun. Who doesn’t like wearing green and drinking green beer on St. Patricks, regardless of if you are Irish or even know why we celebrate it so enthusiastically here in America? Just like “Spirit Days”  in high school, these unofficial, cultural holidays should be fun and just another reason to celebrate life. So why is there so much negativity these days around Valentines Day?

I remember when every kid in class got a Valentine, there were heart shaped cookies and candies involved and maybe you spent an whopping 15 minutes on a handmade card for that special someone you hoped noticed your extra effort. Now, if you don’t have a romantic evening of roses, champagne, fancy dinner reservations and some jewelry in the mix somewhere you are supposed to feel bitter or unloved.

Why?

I can understand someone who is legitimately heartbroken over a lost love or recent romantic disappointment but why so much Anti Valentines energy going around?

People should realize that the pressure comes from those evil marketing campaigns meant to make you feel like if you aren’t buying or being bought what they are selling, you aren’t in the club this year.

I would like to take a stand and remind people that LOVE is not just meant for romance or for one person. Love begins with yourself and once you realize that, you will not need flowers or a box of chocolates to feel validated, you can fully enjoy roses or a box of chocolates courtesy of the person who loves you most, YOU.

In addition to being our own Valentine, look around at ALL the potential Valentines you have all around you. The past few years I have enjoyed dressing in ridiculous pink outfits and passing out heart suckers to anyone I came in contact with through out the day, clients, people at the gas station, post office, friends and neighbors. I have found I felt happier and more full of love than if I was spending the day with only one special person.

This past year I wanted to extend the bottomless love I have been experiencing lately with some of my neighbors who really need love. I coordinated with another inspiring community leader, Nadav Wilf,  Founder of Discover SD and CEO of ENLTD, a “for purpose” lifestyle network and a dear true friend to me and our friend Francine to become “Project Cupid.” We went through Downtown San Diego passing out Valentines candy, Starbucks coffee, water bottles, cupcakes and lunch bags with an assortment of supplies like hand sanitizer, chapstick, gloves and tooth brushes.

We heard incredible stories of struggle, illness, families coming together or falling apart but most of all, gratitude. Everyone was polite, gracious, honest and in generally good spirits. If the group split up and I offered someone something they would say “No thank you, your friend already came by.”  I was shocked. In all the hours I have spent passing free stuff out for promotions I have never experienced as much unselfish, grateful and polite behavior as I did this Valentines day. As Nadav’s account described:

“ I was really taken aback by how polite, thankful, but most of all how present they were. Each person had a story and genuine caring for one another and I felt really connected to them. It reinforced the notion that we are all one. We all want the same things out of life and in one way or another, we are all at times lost in our path to attaining love and happiness.”

As I sat on the train, writing this and reflecting on Love, a young man sat next to me and began reading over my shoulder. He asked what I was doing and I told him about my blog. He then pulled it up on his iphone and began asking me all about my travels and questions unrelated to my blog as well. At first I was giving short answers and trying to continue my flow of writing but he continued to interrupt me and I refrained from feeling annoyed but still didn’t want to lose my concentration. He then asked if the words inscribed on the inside of my forearm were a tattoo. I stopped and looked at my arm, the fresh ink I just got yesterday and the raised words “What Would Love Do?”

Here I am writing a blog about giving kindness and love to anyone and everyone and I was missing this opportunity to connect with the person next to me. We spent the next 15 minutes discussing his goals in life and how we both love our Grandmas and want to be there for them as much as possible. He got off at Fullerton to go visit his Grandma and help around the house and I was almost sad to see him go. I am confident in my decision to put those words permanently on the most visible part of my body to me. I always said I would never go above my ankles and joked I would probably end up with “socks” instead of “sleeves” but this has already made a positive impact on my life and will forever remind me to Be Love. Besides being one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, it is in Jason Mraz’s handwriting from the love note he wrote me at Sundance. Now that’s what I call Love.

 


(Jason and Toca sing a capella at the show I saw at Spreckles in San Diego in November)

Happy Valentines day. Love to you. Every day.

First, Be Love. Its easy.

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This past weekend I attended a Business Breakthrough seminar hosted by Rize Global where we learned about turning passion into profit. Seeing as my passion lies in philanthropy I have had many moral issues with pursuing a profit from purpose driven promotions and hoped the seminar would help me clarify my vision. I jump at opportunities to donate my company’s skills, promotions for non profits and volunteering at fundraising events weather I am stuffing gift bags of school supplies to underprivileged kids or MC for a dance off at a afterschool program, I love to help good causes.

I also like to help those I deal with most, my friends and colleagues. I enjoy chances to help promote a friend’s brand or event, to give advice or constructive feedback when I can and to show support to all the hard work I see around me all the time. CHEERS to the many inspiring people who surround me. In honor of those people I am writing this blog in hopes to share some of the inspiring ideas I heard during this workshop.  My favorite part of the workshop was the guest speaker, Simon Mainwaring author of  New York Times Best seller, “We First” about how brands and consumers use social media to build a better world.

He opened with a powerful question about the new marketplace we are looking at today.

How are you world?

1 in 6 are below poverty line. Due to the recent scandals, the banks, the media, there  is no trust in big brands.  4.5 billion in assets changed from banks to credit unions in the last five weeks. Our quality of life is becoming difficult so people are reacting and citizens are connecting. People are starting to look at what is meaningful in their lives and it is starting to be apparent values lay in creating trust in their companies, treating employees fairly and their quality of life.  People are connecting and wanting to help each other and volunteering and charitable work is on the rise.
As amazing as that sounds, being well intentioned is not enough. We must articulate our message in a way that will be affective. Melinda Gates said to “stop acting like missionaries and act like marketers” and I agree with her. To reach a large audience we must build a brand that is larger than ourselves and instead a community. We must use the tools at our fingertips to create a self outside ourselves on social media platforms. Blog!

The most effective part of his presentation for me was the “Social branding blue print” outline he gave.

 Craft a story to define a brand
-Define purpose and core values
-Distill into emotional terms
-Craft a manifesto
-Write a vision statement
-Commit to a purpose
-Align internally

Be culturally specific, community focused, generate content & Get Your Story Straight!

Key social strategies / tactics
Crowdsource
Collaborate with competitors/cross sectors
Build contribution into real/virtual consumption
Launch/partner w employee volunteer programs
Use social platforms to trigger donations/actions (I use facebook and StayClassy.org most for social fundraising)
Use online platforms/mobile apps for credibility /reach

To sum up the key points I took away from this helpful workshop:
1    The future of profit is purpose
2    Brands must become community celebrants not celebrities
3    Marketers must become day traders in social emotion

25% of all kids worldwide are without electricity. Most of them play soccer. Soccket is a soccer ball that stores kinnetic energy and has a outlet so people can cook food and have light to study by.  Fifteen minutes of play can power a light for 3 hours. It was invented by 3 girls in college.

Get inspired, get your story straight and get moving friends. The world is waiting. 

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