Live More Happy
Living Loving and Traveling the World

ComicCon has always been one of my favorite weeks of the year. Not only has it been one of the most profitable events for my company, LMH Promotions, but it is a magical time when nerds rule the streets. Geeks and gamers come out of every corner (or basement) all over the world to dress as their favorite character and connect (in real life!) with others who share their passions for all things pop culture, occult, and intergalactic. The time, energy and creativity that people put into their costumes is worth getting an over priced sandwich and cappuccino on a corner cafe in the Gaslamp to people watch. 

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I’ve always loved walking the streets and interacting with all the real life characters, seeing the magic come to life all around us. Seeing San Diego, my home town, transformed into a action packed movie set with giant displays, life size props and interactive exhibits, always makes me feel a kind of childlike excitement.

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As a kid I was dressing up like Princess Leia and playing in a cardboard Millennium Falcon in my backyard. I was teased constantly for being weird and not being obsessed with N*Sync or Backstreet Boys, but Han Solo. Now it seems like everyone is suddenly a Star Wars fan, and one of the coolest events of the week is a Star Wars themed party on a Hornblower yacht! Where were all of you 20 years ago when I was training to be a Jedi all by myself?

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On the flip side, ComicCon has a very Hollywood side, with private parties hosted by the biggest entertainment companies with strict guest lists, packed with celebrities and the who’s who of the industry. Somehow I found myself on this side of ComicCon, often being the person with the clipboard turning nerds away, only letting the super cool kids who’s name were on my list, into the party. It pained me in my soul, because inside I am one of those kids getting turned away at the cool party. (Or if I was invited, I got locked outside and laughed at. I hope you are reading this you middle school dicks. I still remember that shit!)

  I find it strange that this convention, started for the nerds, somehow became about excluding those same people from the best parties.

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Don’t get me wrong, I loved being on the right side of the velvet ropes. Not only was I working with some of the most prestigious event companies and meeting and hosting some of Hollywoods most talented, but I was making great money. At 22 I was single handedly casting, hiring, coordinating and managing 50 models and bar staff for the Camp Playboy party the first year they did an event at ComicCon. (Why Playboy is even at ComicCon confuses me.)

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Talk about a shallow gig. I had to sort through hundreds of applications, many of them my friends and models I had hired many times and judge each one of them as if I was casting for Playboy. I had to objectify women, deny beautiful girls because their photos weren’t revealing enough or they didn’t wear enough makeup. I think women are so much more beautiful natural and healthy looking but the event firm I was working with were SO typical Hollywood and expected all the staff to have Playboy looking headshots and body shots. It was unrealistic to find that many models with events experience and hosting skills that also had a portfolio of sexy (photoshopped) photos. I was so stressed I lost sleep, couldn’t eat and barely enjoyed the night I had worked so hard to produce.

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I spent the entire check from that event on a one way ticket to Thailand and didn’t come back until I felt the whole thing was forgotten about.

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Sadly, I had girls come up to me asking why they were not hired or if they could apply for future events. I was being bombarded from so many directions I quickly booked another flight a few months later for Peru and Costa Rica.

Wanderlust_Escape_Travel_Gypsy_Runaway_CostaRicaI made the pilgrimage of the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu and thought long and hard about what I wanted from life. I was building a name for myself and my company by 23 years old. I was making great money, friends in high places and invited to all the best parties, but my heart wanted to be in Cusco, volunteering at the orphanage I had been fundraising for with those same fancy parties.

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Somewhere in the Andes mountains I decided I was going to only work with companies and brands that had heart and soul. I wanted to use my powers for good. I no longer wanted to work on the dark side of the Force. I’ve been training these Jedi skills for too long to let them go to waste. I vowed to let love and compassion guide my work and while its been a difficult road and tempting to occasionally sell out, its been the most rewarding choice of my life.

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Now I get to walk the streets and enjoy ComicCon as the nerd that I am. I’m not on any guest lists and I’m not really interested in being on one. But damn, that Star Wars boat party does look cool…. 

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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 ten days I will be flying all the way around the world, stopping in at least 8 different countries, without any real itinerary or schedule to follow. I am traveling with a few girlfriends at different times, meeting up with different friends all over the world, and working on my newest project, Givebackpackers.

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The givebackpackers kickstarter is in full swing, with 17 days to go, and the goal of raising $8,000 so my partner, Krissy and I can effectively create sustainable business solutions to artisans in poverty.

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I will also be working on several new social media campaigns for brands I really love, building the givebackpackers blog, and Krissy’s new website and the ecommerce shop for the goods we find around the globe.

To top it off, I am coordinating 20 volunteers to visit Baja Mexico and volunteer at the Door of Faith Orphanage with Fortune 421 for our Share The Fortune program in December, the week I get back from the trip.

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We had the best time visiting Mexico last year, delivering our donation of 5k raised from the parties and clothing sales Fortune did throughout the year.

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This year, we have stepped it up, with the goal of raising 7,500 to remodel the teenage boys dorm, putting in a kitchen and new furniture for them to comfortably live in their space.

Since last year, DOFO has expanded and improved their orphanage so much, by adding a computer lab for the high school students to work separately from the young children after school. They moved the toddler girls’ dorm from a difficult upstairs location to a ground floor, easy to access room. They put in a soccer field and have continued to feed, clothe and provide love and support to over 120 kids who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents.

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This Friday, 10/10 I am helping to host a fundraiser for DOFO at Duck Dive in Pacific Beach, to help us reach our goal by December, as well as my annual Hawleyween fiesta and now also, my “going away awhile” party. I would love to see you all before I take off on this epic adventure, and hopefully I will see your name in my email when you sign up for our Mexico Trip on December 7-9!

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Remember, its a Hawleyween party so wear something funky and festive and get your face painted like a Dia De Los Muertos skull by my talented friend Nicole who is donating her time and collecting donations for DOFO!

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As I wrote all of this I felt a little bit overwhelmed with how much I have on my plate, but I wouldn’t change a thing. When you are following your purpose and doing what makes you most passionate, it feels less like work and a lot more fulfilling.
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My third time on Necker Island has been more special than any other visit. I was here twice before with different groups of entrepreneurs to learn from each other, from Richard Branson and his team and to “relax” with every water sport, themed party and hilarious adventure imaginable.

It’s true, Richard is quite the prankster, myself falling for his tricks, sending me in the completely wrong direction during a hike, challenging me to climb straight up a cliff, daring me to jump in the jacuzzi with my clothes on or pretending to be a masseuse and whispering sweet nothings in my friend Steve’s ear. He has a sense of humor to match his big business sense and getting the personal time with him is always exciting, eye opening and inspiring.

temp-post-image Most people know of his business accomplishments, his funny antics and cheeky personality but few know that his main passion in life right now is saving endangered species.

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My last visit I had several meetings with him about our shared passion for nature, conservation and species preservation. In the two years since my first visit in Necker in June of 2012, I had put together a nature education project for the island to inspire and educate guests about the passion and hard work Richard personally does to rescue and revive species that are rapidly disappearing. Richard loved my ideas and gave me his support to pursue my passion.

The last week was so special to me because I had the opportunity to experience the island and all its magic through the eyes of 5 incredible children who had never been to Necker and were in awe of the unique and exciting experiences available, especially the animals. I had planned activities for them that included a walk around the island, observing plants and animals and exploring parts of the island that have been left untouched and still look like what the island looked like when Richard first purchased the land. We discussed what plants and animals are native to the Caribbean and what were brought in from places losing habitat, like Madagascar.

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Nature hiking and bird watching!

temp-post-imageLindsay and Alex, age 4 observing the Scarlet Ibis on Necker Island.

temp-post-image   We even had a scavenger hunt for animals around the island!

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The lemurs and the giant tortoises are always the favorite. We got to feed the lemurs everyday and interact with these hilarious primates with soft little hands, furry bodies and the funniest personalities. A few species of lemurs on Necker are endangered and are having more success on Necker with breeding than anywhere else in the world. 

temp-post-image The tortoises are so big and ancient looking it is no surprise they have been around as long as dinosaurs.

 

temp-post-imageRichard loved the Nature Explorer Journal we made for him. Each page was a different animal that one of the children drew with some fun facts we learned together about the different species. It was the high light of my week seeing the kids work so hard to present such a thoughtful gift to our host and friend, Richard.

temp-post-imageSince my visit and consultations with Richard and Necker management in April they have produced several new videos and blog posts about the Nature on Necker as well as began using hashtags #NeckerAnimals and #NatureOnNecker for sharing their photos and progress. Here is the most recent video with Richard and the nature director, Vaman.

Be sure to follow @NatureOnNecker on Instagram!

 

Animals of Necker Island

 

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In 2013 Live More Happy &  Fortune 421 has raised enough money, through parties and fashion sales, to provide school supplies to 100 orphans and children rescued from abuse in La Mision, Mexico, just about 30 minutes south of San Diego in Baja.

Click the image to watch the video of our trip to Door Of Faith Orphanage in October, 2013.

In 2014, with Fortune events and clothing sales, we raised 7,000 to help remodel the boys dorms and put in a new bathroom and a kitchen at Door of Faith.

We led numerous groups of volunteers last year and already in 2015 and are excited to announce that with our new venture, Givebackpackers, we are raising money for DOFO through the sales of handmade accessories from Mexico.

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003IMG_0368-La Mission Goddess WeekendBuy a backpack, headband, bracelet, anklet and help supply kids in need at DOFO with school supplies.

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If you would like to apply to attend one of these incredible trips, send us a message here

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Urban Angels is a community organization nourishing those in need by providing food for the homeless community of San Diego. Made up of a group of fun and motivated volunteers this organization is leading the way for San Diego’s young philanthropy movement.

Urban Angels serves dinner 7 nights a week now at 5:45-7pm at Connections Housing on 6th & A st in Downtown San Diego and Wednesdays at Salvation Army on 7th and E st.

For more information on how you can get involved visit: www.Urban-Angels.com

Video filmed, produced & edited by: Marlina Moreno

To check out more people and organizations doing great things in their communities visit our friends at the www.TheGLife.org

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We are proud to announce we have launched an art program at Connections Housing in Downtown San Diego in partnership with non profits PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) and Urban Angels.

LMH Promotions summer intern, Ariana Bancroft, joined the LMH team early this summer and has applied her passion for art and inspiring others to helping those needing inspiration and a creative outlet.

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Our first series was a vision board workshop where volunteers and residents talked about their goals, dreams and visions of their futures and found visual representations in magazines and created collages with them.

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 lmh intern art student art lessons inspiration homeless shelter give back promotions marketing good cause san diego

 lmh intern art student art lessons inspiration homeless shelter give back promotions marketing good cause san diego

This creative project was made popular by the book The Secret, using visuals to practice the Law of Attraction. The art class was so popular, one of the best turn outs for a workshop Connections has seen since its opening in March, we have decided to hold a different art class every Thursday at 3pm at Connections on 6th and A st downtown San Diego.

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 lmh intern art student art lessons inspiration homeless shelter give back promotions marketing good cause san diego

We are in need of art supplies, creative individuals to help inspire and lead activities and passionate people who just want to be involved in any way.

Please email Lindsay@LMHpromotions.com to get involved or just stop by Thursday and enter through A st entrance and security will show you the way!

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We are so pleased with our full page article in the San Diego Union Tribune’s Night & Day section in February.  The title was “Model Behavior” and we are so tickled to make the news for doing positive things in the community! Click the image below for the full story online.

 

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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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Cori Gerstein was 12 years old when she visited Rady’s Childrens Hospital for a broken finger. She saw the little girls in the cancer ward who had lost their hair and had the idea to use her love of crafting and started 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 started the facebook page and began making them herself and collecting them from others around the country who saw the page and wanted to help. For Christmas, she delivered 212 bows to the Children’s Hospital!

Pictured below is Amelia, just after her surprise bow arrived. The smallest act of kindness can make all the difference in the life of a child!

For Valentine’s day, Cori’s goal was 100 bows and we wanted to help her reach that goal. Friday night, February 1st, at my home, we assembled a team of 15 women and a few awesome men to make bows. Our friend’s at Pura Vida bracelets donated 150 of their new “hippie” headbands for the bows to go on.  We had a blast crafting, hanging around the fireplace, making smores and making friends. We reached our goal of 100 bows and had a blast doing it. More photos available in the gallery. 

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hair bows cause kids cancer children give back philanthropy craft purpose help
hair bows cause kids cancer children give back philanthropy craft purpose help

We encourage you to contribute with supplies (listed below the photos) or even make the bows on yourself, eve have your own “Bow Party” and get them to Cori who lives here in San Diego.  You can find more information on the Bows for a Cause facebook page! Please like it!

Subscribe to Live More Happy for an invitation to future “Craft for a Cause” events.

Anyway you do it, Thank You for helping make this world a happier place.

Here is Cori on the left and on the right is Amelia, a child who received a bow for Christmas and wanted to help Cori make more for other children.

Supplies for making hair bows:
-Glue Gun and Glue sticks
-Scissors
-3/8 Ribbon
-7/8 Ribbon
-Hair Clips like these 
-Elastic headbands like these (can’t be too thin since a lot of the girls do not have much or any hair and the bow must be able to clip on)
-lighter (to quickly melt the edge of the ribbon to prevent unraveling)
– gems, buttons, flowers or anything cute to go on the center of the bow! (pictured above Corie and Ameila used a bottle cap kit purchased from a craft store)
If you want to try some cute and simple bows here are a few cute felt and lace bows I found and might try to make as well!
Of course we need headbands for the bows to attach to and here is a great way to make cute headbands from old tee shirts!

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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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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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