Tag Archives: flygirl

Starting At 31…?

I wrote this post over a month ago and just stumbled upon it… I was hesitating posting it, but here it is… Hope it explains some stuff, hope you enjoy it…

As you all know, this blog is my documentation of me “Starting At 30…” With a new career, new city, new life, etc. I must say, this past year has been a roller coaster ride. It wasn’t easy, and at times it was pretty scary, but it was all worth it. With all the lows, also came the highest of highs. This has been one of my most difficult years financially, and at the same time, the richest one when it comes to experience.
I promised you in my first entry that I’d be honest & share the “not so glamorous” side of flying… Well, because of how busy I’ve been, I’ve really only focused on fun times… I mean, who doesn’t want to focus on the positive stuff?
Well, let me recap a little:
On my 30th birthday, I went home for a little over a week. I visited friends & family all up & down California. I was showered with love & gifts & delicious food. I had three birthday celebrations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. I saw so many loved ones and even visited my place of birth (and family there) for the first time in over 20 years! This took place during my beautiful drive down California’s famous Highway 1.
When I returned to Philadelphia, the weather was cold & I was about to experience my first east coast winter (cue suspenseful music). Living with four roommates was about to be a bit of a challenge. We were all going to be home more often, as flying demands slowed. It felt like a reality show. You know…when people stop being polite & start getting real…?! There were good times… and… there was drama. Five personalities from different walks of life in one house during (what’s been said to be) the worst winter in I dunno… ever, put us all to the test… I’ll just leave it at that…
For the first time in my life, I had to work on Thanksgiving. Working at a bank for the past 10 years, I was guaranteed to have holidays off… But, working in the airline industry meant that I got the chance to get people home to their families for the holiday… Not just any people, either. My flight consisted of military men & women who were coming home for the first time in years, after being deployed. It was the most rewarding day on the job to date. I look forward to working the holidays this year.
Once I made it through the brutal winter and all the snow storms, I joined the Spanish-speaking program with the airline. When spring rolled around, I’d only be assigned to fly to Puerto Rico, Madrid & Barcelona. The first day that I had to make Spanish announcements, I was so nervous. I only read from our handbook, word for word. I was terrified when the captain made announcements & I was put on the spot. Now, the (extended) season is coming to and end & I can read my English book & translate the words in my head. I’m proud of how much my Spanish has improved & how confident I’ve become.
Working transatlantic trips opened so many doors for me. I was able to pick up other European destinations from senior flight attendants who met me along the way. This summer was the best summer of my life! I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places & been to some wonderful concerts. Like the time I went to Paris, got paid overtime, got into a show for free & was assigned a hotel room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I mean, that’s like every girl’s dream, right? Right… Then, I came home to Philadelphia & had to set up a mouse trap…& when it did it’s job, I had to do away with the fury casualty myself. I’m telling you, people… Highest highs & lowest lows.
It wasn’t only Paris, though. This year I’ve also seen Italy, Scotland, England, Ireland and so many other breathtaking places (some of them are still pending blog posts). I’ve been so busy living life & exploring that I haven’t dedicated my time to writing like I’d really like to. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not a good thing… It’s just the way it is.
I have some wonderful posts sitting in my drafts, waiting to be published. I have amazing pictures that I can’t wait for you to see… And most of all, I have so many life experiences that I want to share with you…

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Stay tuned…!!

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Yesterday Germany, Tomorrow Italy

I was talking with my best friend one night & she asked me where in the world I was. I told her I had just gotten in from Puerto Rico after being in Germany yesterday, then I’d be heading to Rome tomorrow. The simple fact that that’s what my conversations sound like now is just ridiculous to me… & I absolutely love it!
My crew to Germany was amazing. We were all pretty junior and we wanted to go out & see the city. This was my first time there & I was looking forward to schnitzel & bier!
We stay just outside of Frankfurt, in Mainz. The city is gorgeous. The hazy weather added to the beauty around us.
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After some congregating at our hotel, we head out for some food at a restaurant that’s a crew favorite. The crew & our waitress all suggested schnitzel, so, after plenty of thought, that’s what I order… Schnitzel & dark bier. Yum.

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At dinner, we run into another crew member & his partner, who is a local. Our group grows & we set off to explore together.
Everything is so beautiful, from the streets, to the buildings, to the trees. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It feels like I’m on a movie set! I stop occasionally to touch trees & buildings just to make sure they’re real.

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We spend the day frolicking & making stops here & there for a drink or dessert… It’s Sunday, so there isn’t a whole lot going on.
We all get to know each other better & have great laughs as we close the day by the river.

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A couple of us head out for some late night exploring, where we meet some interesting locals along the way. When we stop and ask for directions, one guy says he’ll walk us. He’s carrying 2 duffle bags & a backpack… He’s just getting in from Berlin. He’s spent all day on the road, in traffic, and now he’s showing us around, while lugging his baggage.
He had the most wonderful attitude & was so sweet, I just has to mention him. That was my impression of Mainz… & Germany. A beautiful city with nice people, good food & great bier!

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When I returned to Philly, I got called for a quick turn to & from Puerto Rico. It was an easy work day…those crews are always fun. Then, I had a few days off…
That’s when my friend, Anabel ( who you met here) invited me to Rome!
I was debating on visiting a friend in LA & going to a show… I even asked a few people about it. The answer seemed obvious to everyone but me. So, at the last minute, while standing at the gate, I walked away from my LA departure & headed towards the gate for Rome!
Anabel was surprised (& excited) to see me. I was pretty excited myself. This would be my first time in Italy…& to do it with a friend, who was willing to share her (free) hotel room…I mean, yay!
When we arrive, Anabel needs to rest. I was able to sleep on the flight over, so, while she naps, I get ready for the day. I love our hotel. It’s cute & quaint. The decor is exactly what I think of when I imagine Rome. There’s a vanity in the room with a darling little chair. The mirror is old & misty. There’s doors (with long windows with wooden panels and shear white curtains) that lead to the terrace. It’s adorable.
Anabel has been here before, so, she has a game plan. When she wakes, we hit the ground running. Here’s how we saw Rome in a day…

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After a day of walking around the entire city, we were pooped. Anabel hailed a cab back to the hotel & even though I wanted to go out & see Rome’s nightlife, I ended up falling asleep in the cab. It was a wonderful day & I was ready for a good night’s sleep.

Dilated Peoples -Directors of Photography

It’s no secret that I love music. I’ve always dreamed of being in the studio with my favorite artists, witnessing and celebrating those magical moments of genius. Well, my friends…that’s another dream that has finally come true for me!
I first met Evidence in November 2011, after one of his solo shows in San Diego. He’s such a cool, humble guy & anyone who’s ever been in his presence can tell you that he instantly makes you feel like you’re life-long friends. Over the years, I’ve seen him perform in different cities (& countries) as a solo artist, as one half of Step Brothers, & of course, as one third of the legendary Dilated Peoples.
I found myself in Los Angeles earlier this year… & was in communication with Ev. He was in the studio working on some finishing touches for the highly anticipated Directors of Photography with DJ Babu. I was elated when he extended an invitation to let me watch the masters at work.
Babu is on his way out when I arrive, so, I only get to chat with him briefly. Ev is sitting in his chair, at the controls, going over some mixes. I’m so excited to hear the tiny previews of the tracks! People have been waiting a long time for this album, and here I am, experiencing it behind the scenes, with one of the creators!
Ev turns to me & welcomes me warmly…then, he asks if I’d be willing to get on the mic to say a few things… Um, Yes, please! I’d be honored.
I step into the booth, put the headphones on, pick up the mic & take direction. He has me play around with accents & I say some stuff (faintly) in the background. I take on my latest character, a South Philly girl. He laughs. I’m having fun with it… and even though you really won’t hear it when you play the introduction, I know it’s there.
Next, Ev plays a snippet for me and he directs me to “just talk,” the whole time. Since I’m a professional at making onboard announcements, and I know that the guys always reference flying, I say what comes to mind…
“Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Los Angeles, where the local time is 10:25 (*side note: my birthday is October 25th). For your safety, please remain seated with your seat belt fastened and keep the aisle clear until we are parked at the gate. The captain will turn off the fasten seat belt sign when it is safe to stand…”
I think Ev is amused. He looks up at me through the glass & says, “That’s perfect. You killed it!”
This is definitely a moment in time I’ll never forget… I’m in the studio, with one of my favorite artists, hearing that he likes what I just did in the mic. *Insert fireworks.* 😉
You can hear the finished product for yourself at the end of number 14, “Trouble.” It’s a perfect segway into “L.A. River Drive,” a song produced by Alchemist, featuring another Los Angeles native, Sick Jacken (who I wrote about here). There is a reoccurring line on the track. “From the time I ride out, ’til the time I’m home… I pray for a safe travel, God, while I’m gone.” This is something I can totally relate to.
In my effort to fully support the album, I caught a couple shows while the guys were on tour recently. First, when I had the opportunity to work “Paris, first class international.” (Who caught that movie reference)? Lol. Anyway, I caught the guys Live on Stage at La Plage de Glazart‘s pop-up beach during my Layover.
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The venue was set up for a total Sunday Funday… sand, lawn chairs & open air. I mingled with the fans and got hear about how much the guys are loved & respected in France. I felt so at home with my fellow hip hop heads. We laughed, we drank, we discussed our love for Dilated Peoples, we enjoyed the music together… And, of course, we took pictures…
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The crowd was live & the guys put on a great show. They started with some of their new work, went through some classics, & even took turns doing some solo stuff. It was supposed to be a rainy day in Paris, but when Ev performed his happy hit, “Chase the Clouds Away,” the climate adhered the commands of The Weatherman & the drizzle stopped. It ended up being a sunny day, after all.
I had the opportunity to chat with both, Ev & Rakaa, individually, for a bit after the show. I remember Rakaa telling me to keep doing what I’m doing & to always go for things outside of my comfort zone. It meant a lot, coming from him. He’s definitely someone who knows something about chasing your dreams & creating a life you love.
We talked travel, we talked family, we talked music. We even talked about some young, up & coming female rappers that we both respect… (I mentioned the ladies in previous posts here & here).
My interaction with Ev definitely kept the same themes. Travel, music… Oh, & of course, photography.
His outlook on music & the industry is refreshing, because he never really has anything negative to say. He respects that artists do what they do & that fans like what they like. Of course, he has his opinions, but he’s great about not bad-mouthing anybody. As for his personal style, when it comes to his music, and even his photos, it’s quite obvious that he’s meticulous about everything he puts out.
Later, I caught the guys in Philadelphia for their Word of Mouth tour with Jurassic 5 at Penn’s Landing. I was lucky enough to chat with guys for a bit after catching a dope show with a great view, on a beautiful day in the city I now call home.

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The guys (and the team at Rhymesayers Entertainment) teamed up with Pandora and did their fans a huge favor by letting everyone preview the entire album a week before it dropped. I listened to it over and over as I anxiously awaited my pre-ordered (autographed) physical copy to arrive from Fifth Element.
Directors of Photography is a masterpiece, in my opinion. The creative packaging amazed me.

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Rather than finding the traditional booklet inside the album, you open an envelope that includes individual Polaroid-like photos. The first one is a group photo – Dilated Peoples (Directors of Photography).

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You’ll find a recap of the project, including credits when you flip it over. Next, are a few photos of each of the guys where they share stories about each other on the back, along with their “Thank Yous.” (I gotta draw special attention to Ev’s… don’t forget about the rest of crew next time). 😉

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Each song also has it’s own photo with full lyrics and credits on the reverse side. Nice touch, guys.
The album definitely takes you on a journey. I’d compare it to catching a flight…
The Intro is similar to the boarding process. You’re excited as you enter the aircraft. You’re greeted by the crew. You’re not sure what to expect, but you know something great is up ahead. Ladies and gentleman, welcome aboard flight 812, with service to Los Angeles.
Once you’ve settled into your seat and you’re ready for departure, the crew gives their demonstration and sets the tone with Directors. The opening line is actually about taking flight. The track is perfect for wheels up, as you begin your ascent. You’re on your way now, starting this adventure with the Dilated Crew.
As you reach the sky during your climb, Cut My Teeth (produced by The Alchemist), and the Defari Interlude (featuring Defari) give you endless snapshots and vivid images of the guys’ lives & the city they’re from, from their individual points of view. The Dark Room (featuring Vince Staples, with production by Twiz The Beat Pro) has metaphors and lyrical content that will keep you guessing, like looking out the window, down to little squares & shapes on the land below.
Once you’ve leveled off with Good As Gone (produced by DJ Premier), the onboard service is about to begin. Choose your favorite beverage & be prepared to select your meal as the guys serve up stories of their journey. “The more that I roam, the more that I’m free.” (Ev) “Sat in coach and studied business before my first class.” (Rakaa)
Now you’re approaching cruising altitude, where it should be a smooth ride, but, for your safety, the captain keeps the seat belt sign on…and it’s a good thing he does, because songs like Show Me the Way (featuring Aloe Blacc, produced by Jake One) & Figure It Out will hit you like unexpected turbulence and may knock you out of your seat!
Things smooth out with Let Your Thoughts Fly Away (produced by Diamond D.), but you’ll notice that you can’t keep your head from bobbing due to the light chop of Century of the Self (featuring Catero, produced by Oh No).
The captain makes an announcement that makes you laugh a little with the @MrEvidence Interlude. You are now free to move about the cabin. Enjoy The Reversal like you enjoy a nice stretch.
It’s been a great flight thus far & the crew presents you with & Opinions May Vary (featuring Gangrene) & Trouble to keep you satisfied, just like the arrival service when you begin your initial descent. (*Here’s where you get to hear me in action).
You’re landing now, but “you must remain seated until we are parked at the gate.” The crew welcomes you with L.A. River Drive and when the aircraft doors open, you catch a breath of fresh air with The Bigger Picture, the final track on the album (featuring Krondon, produced by 9th Wonder).
You have arrived. Thank you for joining along on this journey… I hope you enjoy your stay here, or wherever your final destination may be. 😉

I’ll be catching the guys this weekend in Munich for the Streetlife Blockparty. You can catch them in a city near you (or you can catch a flight and catch them in a city far away), by checking tour dates here.

Purchase your copy of Directors of Photography here, on Google Play, through Fifth Element, on Amazon, or purchase it on iTunes to download bonus tracks Times Squared and Hallelujah (featuring Fashawn, Rapsody, Domo Genesis, Vinnie Paz & Action Bronson).

*Special Thanks to Dilated Peoples, Evidence, Rakaa, and DJ Babu for all the love they showed me at their shows and in the studio. Also, thank you to the team at Rhymesayers Entertainment. Shout out to Eddie Sancho, Federico “C Sik” Lopez, and everyone else I’ve met through this project. Great work, everyone. I’m truly honored to be a part of this!

Love Haight

I just got back from a short visit to San Francisco. It was amazing. My good friends, Ryan & Brian, just had twins & I just had to meet them. I mentioned before, that Ryan was a huge inspiration to me when it came to traveling & seeing the world. She’s a special person in my life.
Even with brand new babies & lots of feedings and diaper changes, plus some bathroom remodeling & a full house, she knows how to make me feel completely welcome & at home.
I made a quick, last minute decision to head to California to visit. I was greeted with a delicious dinner with the entire family (Ryan, her husband, the new twins & Ryan’s mother-in-law) at a restaurant in Sausalito with a killer view of the city (forgive the absence of photos). We had invigorating conversations of family, and of course, travel. It was great to catch up.
The next day, the plan was to spend some time in the Haight Ashbury District…a place I’ve always dreamt of seeing…
When we arrive, we park near Amoeba Music and start our walk through the historic neighborhood. Ryan’s mother-in-law tells us that she’s excited to be here, too…she lived through the Summer of Love & has wanted to visit the district for almost 40 years. It’s a first for all of us.
The walk up the street if full of diverse music & fun fashion. We stop to grab lunch at El Faro (they let me feed my Mexican food craving). I We devour every bite, before continuing our voyage.

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We pass by all the cute shops, the hippies – locals and tourists- & loud music to get to the famous corner of Haight & Ashbury, where we stop to snap some photos.
It’s exciting, it’s nostalgic & it’s just plain beautiful…

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The smell of “herbs” in the air, the variations of music, and the fun crowd make for such a great experience. I’m in love & I’m pretty sure I’ll live here someday.
After our adventure, we head home to feed the babies & prepare for dinner. I get to know grandma a little more… She’s actually the one who inspired Ryan to travel so much, so, it’s great to hear her stories..!
There’s one story, in particular, about how she wanted to fly for Pan Am after college that touches me. It’s amazing to hear about such a pivotal moment in her life…
Dinner leads to more stories & quality time. The food is delicious & the conversation is just as indulgent.
The night ends with dad & I drinking “Mexican Ashtrays” & playing games as mom, grandma & babies sleep. Then, we feed the twins before we head to bed.
In the morning, after a quick visit with the ladies & babies, I’m off to the airport…back to Philadelphia, back to work… This is always the hard part. But, alas, I know I’ll be back & I’m
Looking forward to it.
There’s no place like home & nothing like friends & family…

Thanks for reading, everyone. Peace & love!

Bilingual Got Me Barcelona

I had a couple days off & I was feeling “stuck” in Philadelphia. Flights back home to San Diego were all full and I was a little homesick. Since I couldn’t get back to California, I volunteered to work during my off days. I was hoping I’d get called on a fun trip.
I’m woken up by my phone… It’s Scheduling calling me. I guess something opened up… I jump to answer. The voice coming from the other end sounds absolutely angelic when he says, “Cecilia, we have a four-day trip to Barcelona tonight. Are you interested?” Ummm, heck yes, I am!
I joined the seasonal “language of destination” program to practice my Spanish and to see if flying to Spanish-speaking destinations is something I want to continue to do on a regular basis.
I’ve always been a little embarrassed to speak Spanish because I didn’t learn the language until I was 12 years old, and I never felt like I mastered it.
One day (in San Diego) my dad asked me to bring him a hanger…but he asked me in Spanish. When I didn’t do it, he approached me to ask why. I told him I didn’t understand what he said. I’ll never forget the look on my dad’s face…he looked heart-broken.
That day, he told my mom that we’d be moving across the boarder to Mexicali. So, while all my friends were off to Jr. High, my younger sister and I were to attend a private school in Mexico to study the language until we were fluent. It took about 3 months before I was awarded “Student of the Month” and with that came the opportunity to return to school in California. Back then, I was pretty upset about the whole ordeal, but now, I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Learning Spanish has definitely opened doors for me…

Now I’m on my way Barcelona with a great crew. Since we have two full days in the city, we’re all making plans to go out. So many different personalities, so many different things to do. I’m excited.
I can’t even sleep when we get to our hotel. It’s beautiful! The room is very contemporary & the accommodations are great. I shower & lounge around in the plush robe & slippers provided while I wait on a couple of the ladies. We’ve agreed to meet in the lobby in the afternoon.
At the top of our list, is the famous Sagrada Familia, just one of the many masterpieces by Gaudí. When we step up out of metro station, we take in the scenery… Then, we turn around, and we’re stunned by the massive work of art that stands before us. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

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We walk around the entire building. Each side of the church has a different look to it. So many intricate details. I’m in awe.
Unfortunately, due to a private concert that evening, the church is closed earlier than normal. We can’t see the inside. Bummer.
After some walking around & a light snack, we meet another flight attendant back at the hotel. One of the ladies has other plans. So, we say bye & continue our day.
Another of the ladies is retiring this year. She’s committed to seeing as much as she can see before she hangs up her wings. She’s so much fun. She’s been out with me all day.
The flight attendant we’re out with now, travels to Barcelona regularly & is proud to show us around. She’s also originally from California. She’s such a great tour guide.
We walk to Las Ramblas, the popular street in Barcelona where you can find just about anything. It’s full of families, tourists, locals, shops, restaurants, markets, etc.

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The area is just full of life. We make a few stops along the way. One of our stops is at the local market. We pick up fruit & cheeses to snack on.

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I need to pull out cash, so, I stop at an ATM where I meet (& briefly chat with) Kyle Bryant, an American artist who is spending his time capturing Barcelona in a very unique way… Watch here.

The ladies & I are headed to dinner & a flamenco show. We join another crew member for dinner at a restaurant that is a crew favorite.
The flamenco show is in the same square, so, it’s a short walk to the venue. When the dancers & musicians take the stage, the room is captivated. The movements, the sounds, the storytelling…it’s such a great show. I even consider moving to Spain & learning the art, myself!

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The next day, I meet up with my fellow California girl again. She and another one of the ladies are spending the day in Sitges. I decide to join them.
After our train ride, we arrive to the gorgeous beach town. The weather is perfect & the beaches are full. The water looks amazing.

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We didn’t plan to spend time in the sand. We want to walk around & see the area. We hit the streets & take in the sites. Then, we stroll along the water before stopping for a drink.
It’s a Wednesday afternoon, and it’s a warm 70 degrees out. We’re sitting outside with a great view of the ocean. Each of us is enjoying a glass of wine…and one of the ladies reminds us that we’re getting paid to do this. What a life!

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I have plans to visit another one of the Gaudí sites. So, after a few hours in Sitges, I hop a train back to Barcelona. Then, I take the local metro to Park Güelle .
I didn’t really know a whole lot about the park, I just knew I wanted to see it. I have to stop for directions along the way.
Once I see what’s up ahead of me, I know I should’ve planned ahead, and worn more sensible shoes. That’s ok, though. I used to live in five inch heels…I can do this.
After my hike up what seemed like never-ending stairs, I make it into the park. There’s so much to see.

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There’s a line to enter the part of the park that houses all the well-known exhibits. So, I walk around the the surrounding area before I buy my ticket.
*Note: Purchase your entry before exploring the outside area. Then, it should be your assigned entry time and you won’t have to wait in line to enter. Also, wear comfy or athletic gear. You can make it a day of hiking. You might even want to pack a picnic to enjoy in the park. There are so many great views.

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When I make it inside the park, I’m stunned by all the beauty. The attention to detail and the creativity that went into the project is out of this world. My eyes are feasting on all the colors of the mosaic work. I’m walking around in awe… talk about jaw-dropping!

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After my big day out, I’m pretty pooped. When I get to back to my hotel, I run into one of the ladies that visited Sagrada Familia with me. We begin to recap our trip. We both decide we want to hit the town one more time before bed.
We stroll down Las Ramblas one last time before calling it a night. The city is alive. It’s hard for me to leave. But, we have a big day ahead of us…we have to work.
I wake up early, to catch the sunrise at the rooftop pool before getting ready for our flight. It’s beautiful. I love Barcelona & I can’t wait to be back over & over again all summer.

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Thanks Mom & Pap for sending me to school in Mexico to learn Spanish all those years ago… Being bilingual got me Barcelona!

A year with wings

A year ago today, after five intense weeks, I graduated from in-flight training at a major US Airline and started a new career as a flight attendant. I got my wings and I was certified to fly. The world was at my feet.
After the ceremony, I had a brief moment to hug & kiss my family before catching a flight across the country, to report for duty. That’s right, no time to go back home & pack… just off to my new home on the east coast. I remember being nervous and even a little scared… I kind of felt like a cat hanging on a screen door. I had no idea what was ahead of me…
After a year of learning a whole new industry, living in a new city, having roommates, being on a tight budget, and experiencing my first ever (very brutal) winter, I’m proud of how far I’ve come!
I can appreciate all kinds of weather and I’m no longer afraid of storms. I enjoy rain, lightning brightening up the sky & the sound of booming thunder. I think snow is beautiful (for the most part).
I can easily make friends with strangers and find something fun to do in any city. I’m almost a pro at getting around on public transportation. I’m ok with exploring new places alone and I am able to find beauty in so many more places and with so many more people than ever before.
It’s been a wild turbulent ride and I’m seriously having the time of my life! I’ve played (& been paid to play) in seven different countries, and countless amazing cities…I’ve eaten the most delicious foods & I have met the most amazing people. I am so grateful and so excited for what’s up ahead!

20140619-222809-80889118.jpgGraduation Day

20140620-045704-17824704.jpgCharlotte

20140619-223249-81169803.jpgWashington DC

20140619-223311-81191910.jpgPhiladelphia

20140619-223505-81305905.jpgNewYork

20140619-223544-81344585.jpgParis

20140619-223607-81367669.jpgPuerto Rico

20140619-223636-81396929.jpgPhoenix

20140619-223711-81431408.jpgMiami

20140619-223724-81444718.jpgNew Orleans

20140619-223816-81496684.jpgBoston

20140619-224317-81797637.jpgCabo San Lucas

20140619-223946-81586491.jpgLas Vegas

20140619-224026-81626929.jpgMy first snow storm in Philadelphia

20140619-224059-81659627.jpgLos Angeles

20140619-224118-81678380.jpgAmsterdam

20140619-224206-81726331.jpgLondon

20140620-044913-17353675.jpgChicago

20140619-224606-81966899.jpgMadrid

20140619-225546-82546364.jpgBarcelona

20140619-225143-82303388.jpgTwin Cities

20140619-225209-82329583.jpgFrankfurt

20140619-225232-82352696.jpgRome

20140619-224545-81945238.jpgSan Diego

A year ago, I would have never pictured my life the way it is now. Here’s to many more…

Special thanks to my family & friends for your continued love and support. I know it hasn’t been the easiest year for any of us. I miss you all very much. Thank you for encouraging me & for always understanding when I can’t be around. Thank you for believing in me and for reminding me of what I am capable of. I love you.
To my crew (fellow flight attendants): you guys have made this last year so much fun. Thanks for turning my tears into laughter. It’s an honor flying with all you hippie, gypsy, free spirits…here’s to many more years of wanderlust!

Soundset

Where do I even start…?
Have you ever had those moments in life where everything is just perfect? Well, I just had a whole long weekend of that exact perfectness. Great weather, delicious food, awesome people & all-access to the most amazing music…
I woke up Saturday morning and rushed to the airport to catch a flight to Minneapolis. I was going to spend Memorial Day Weekend out in Minnesota to catch Soundset, the annual hip hop festival held by Rhymesayers Entertainment at Canterbury Park. I’ve wanted to go to Soundset for a few years, now. This year, it finally happened… on Sunday, May 25, 2014, I spent the day with 30,000 other music lovers at the sold out event…
During my flight, I met a few people who were headed to the festival for the Bboy Competition. I didn’t have any set plans during the day, so, they invited me along. We stopped at The Mall of America and rode a crazy roller coaster. Then headed to the 5-8 club for a famous Juicy Lucy burger.
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After lunch, I met up with the famous, Eddie Sancho, for some drinks before the Soundet Pre-Party . (I’ll share more about Eddie someday soon. Chances are, if you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ve heard his work).
We’re having drinks at the hotel when Eddie asks if I’d like to check out the venue for tonight’s show… It’s at the legendary First AvenueThe house that Prince built – which has been around since 1970 and was featured in the film, Purple Rain. It’s stage has been graced by countless amazing musical acts. Of course I want to see it!

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When we get there, they’re setting up for the #BeforeSoundset show. It’s cool seeing the empty space & witnessing the calm before the storm.

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From there, we head over to the Rhymesayers offices. I’m so excited! This is where a lot of the (behind the scenes) magic happens… We get a private tour of the facilities, have some delicious local beers and grab some gear from the Fifth Element Store. Not to mention, I got to meet some super cool people!
We have dinner near the venue, and get ready for the show. Thanks to Eddie & the amazing team at Rhymesayers, Here’s a little glimpse at how the night went…

20140603-012118-4878694.jpgSlug (Atmosphere) made an appearance to introduce Step Brothers

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Rhymesayers Entertainment

20140603-023438-9278849.jpgBrother Ali

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Slug, Atmosphere

20140603-023811-9491974.jpgStep Brothers

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20140603-023828-9508284.jpgEddie & Ali

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Dem Atlas

The pre-party definitely set the tone for Sunday… aka Soundset Day. I woke up so excited!
Let me start with the line up…

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from Veterans, to fresh new artists, to some of today’s heavy hitters, the wide range of acts consisted of both, men & women, representing various ethnical backgrounds. With DJ’s, B boys & MC’s on three different stages, a car show, graffiti wall, and skate ramp, there was something there for everyone.
I’ve attended a lot of hip hop festivals before this & I gotta say, this was, by far, my favorite one ever. (Ok, maybe the accommodations and all access pass had a little something to do with that). But, nonetheless, the guys at Rhymesayers really know how to throw a party. I’ll let my pictures do (most of) the talking…

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20140608-005046-3046926.jpgAfter a fun shuttle ride with a great group, we got there just in time to catch Snow Tha Product rockin’ the stage. I learned about her when I saw her on the line up a few weeks before. She’s a young Latina from San Diego and I love what she stands for. Don’t let the pretty face fool you, either, this girl can spit rapid fire!

20140608-011344-4424904.jpgEddie and I enjoying Snow’s set. In the background, (from our fun shuttle ride) is the talented G Koop, the man behind the live instruments on Atmoshpere’s Southsiders.

20140608-012236-4956522.jpgEddie introduced me to Maria Isa, another proud Latina, sharing her message through her music.

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It wasn’t long before I caught up with my favorite Instagram Photographer… Mr. Evidence was hard at work, running the Soundset ig account .

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And of course, these guys weren’t too far behind… Alchemist and DJ Mishaps

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Golf Carts were the preferred mode of transportation… Check out our driver! 😉

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This girl, Alicia, made me feel like the ultimate VIP and took good care of me. She has a great heart & we became friends instantly.

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20140608-014328-6208230.jpgEven though we got there too late to catch their set, I had a chance to meet up with two of my favorite California kids, The Grouch and Eligh

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Monica, another find from the fun shuttle, introduced me to the sounds of (& the man himself) DJ Q Bert

20140608-015806-7086438.jpg I also had the chance to catch Rapsody move the crowd.

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Sky made sure we got to see the view from the side stage…it was amazing!

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I gotta admit, there were moments when I pretended the crowd was cheering for me… I felt like Selena! 😉

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We caught the legendary Cypress Hill from the side stage…

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took a few pics…

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& made some new friends.

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This girl, Taylor, got lost from her group…she was all alone & one of the members of security allowed her access to the side stage so that she could try to spot them. How cool is that?

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I was 2 excited to see 2 Chainz! (See what I did there)? 😉

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Cool shirt, bro

20140608-021423-8063118.jpgOpen container situation with Alc

20140608-021448-8088355.jpgCypress Hill!

20140608-021515-8115242.jpgMy fellow San Diegan & world traveler, Cros One was judging the Bboy battle.

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20140608-021711-8231349.jpgRan into my ladies from the plane…

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20140608-022447-8687342.jpgWiz Khalifa didn’t let being arrested in Texas earlier in the day keep him from performing for his fans. The crowd went absolutely wild when he took his place on stage!

20140608-023105-9065055.jpgEddie and I caught Nas‘s set from the Monster Tower…

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along with this unbelievable view of the festival!

20140608-023433-9273258.jpgThen, we caught up with Mr. Jones backstage.
*Eddie actually worked on Illmatic. The classic album celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this year. Pretty cool stuff, right?

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Maggie, my doll for the day, was another one from the fun group on the shuttle. I had a blast with her.
*Shout out to DJ Abilities

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Soon, it was time for the main event… the hometown heroes from Minneapolis, Atmosphere, closed the show like only they could.

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20140610-181146-65506387.jpgPosing with the host of the event, Sway Calloway, before heading back to First Avenue for the official Soundset After Party…

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I’ve seriously always dreamed of experiencing a music festival in the capacity in which I experienced Soundset. Just hanging out with the artists, behind the scenes, in their element, among friends, family & comrades. I am so glad it finally came to be!
From this (once) small town girl, with big dreams, I encourage each & every one of you to follow your heart & seek out your passion in life. Chase it, hunt it, run after it with all your might. Your heart will never lead you astray… Once you know what it is that you really want in life, the universe will conspire to give it to you. Go after it!

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Shout out to the girls at Glam Doll Donuts for following their love & passion for music (and baking) & turning it into a successful business in such a sweet way!

Thanks for reading along, everyone. What is it that you really want in life? What’s your dream? Or has it already come true…?

*Special thanks to Eddie Sancho, Ashanti Abdullah, Siddiq, & the entire staff & crew at Rhymesayers Entertainment for an unbelievable, unforgettable weekend. Much love. Let’s do it all again next year!

Check out the Soundset 2014 Wrap Up here…
*at 1:39 in…don’t blink! 😉

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