Orlando United Day (June 12, 2017)

Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness took place on June 12, 2017 in Orlando, FL. This day was dedicated to honor the memory of the 49 innocent Pulse victims. 

I was chosen to field produce for our digital media department. I was on-site at the Pulse Nightclub where friends, families, and supporters gathered to pay their respects to the 49 lives that were taken too soon.

With a year between us I witnessed tears, hugs, and acceptance. I have never felt so connected to a community as I did that day. 

What I took away from the day is this: Though our hearts may be heavy, our Pulse is strong. Evil can never, and will never divide us. 

We will not let hate win.

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Last but not least.. Barcelona!

Matt and I hopped on a plane from Amsterdam and landed in the Barcelona-El Prat Airport. From there we hailed a cab and headed into the city to meet my parents.

We spent 3 or 4 nights (I can’t remember!) at the Cotton House Hotel, which was only a short walk away from La Rambla. The hotel was absolutely gorgeous.

La Rambla is a street in central Barcelona that has food and touristy trinkets. The street leads you to the Plaça de Catalunya and the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell.

Christopher Columbus statue

That first night we wandered the streets searching for food and taking in all of the sights. We happened to stumble upon La Mercè Festival, which is a festival that honors the Patron Saint of Barcelona. Fire lit the streets, it truly was a sight to see. We ended up filling our bellies to the brim with tapas and called it a night.

On our first day, we all explored La Rambla and Port Vell. Matt and I ventured up this (massive) hill to go see Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. This stadium was where the 1992 Summer Olympics was held. We first Stopped at the Montjuïc Castle and Jardí Botànic de Barcelona and looked out out to the port and the water. After finally reaching the stadium, we decided to go down a different way so we could see more of the city. We walked down the steps of the Archeology Museum of Catalonia. We ended up losing our way a little, but we were out of the ‘tourist’ area, and fell even more in love with the city.

Then it was time to explore the Gothic Quarter. This was my favorite part of the city. With its medieval streets, the architecture is breathtaking. There you will find the Cathedral of Barcelona, which is just a gorgeous structure. When we entered the Cathedral you will find they have the cutest swans in a courtyard. To be honest, I don’t remember the symbolic reason as to why they are placed there. I just liked looking at them.

Exploring Barcelona

On our second day (which was supposed to be our last), we ended up taking a guided tour throughout the city, which included a short boat ride and helicopter ride. It was incredible to be able to see the city from so high on the coastline. I want to add here that my family never does “tours.” We are the ones that wander around aimlessly for hours running into landmarks. I think the only reason why my parents wanted to do this was for the boat road and the chopper ride.

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After the tour was over we were dropped off back at the Port. From there we made our way to the Arc de Triomf, Barcelona style.

We then went to the Sagrada Familia. This has to be one of the coolest, strangest thing I have ever seen. On one side of the church you have the religious side: Stages of the cross. On the other side it seems like Antoni Gaudi just added whatever he had wanted: fruit, Christmas trees, birds, snakes, people, etc. Construction started in 1882 and it still is not finished! We could even see the church from the rooftop of our hotel. We attempted to go inside, but the church was sold out for the day. A little bummed, we ended up going to La Pedrera, which is one of Gaudi’s main residential buildings. We opted out of going inside, but the outside was very modern. Next was the Casa Batlló. This building is located in the center of Barcelona and is extraordinary. The details, the color choices. I stood in awe and marveled at this beautiful structure.

Casa Batlló 1

We ended up walking back to our hotel to wash up before getting ready for dinner. At this point, Matt and I had to begin packing up since we were expected to fly out the next morning. But.. after not being able to go inside the Sagrada Familia, we opted in changing our flights to leave a day later and booked tickets to go inside.

Let me say this, if you are planning a trip to Barcelona – you must go to Sagrada Familia. We visited in the afternoon and the coloring inside the church was phenomenal. The warmth from the stained glass really set the tone inside the structure. On the website it states, “The rising sun lights up the portals of the Nativity facade, accentuating the joy for life that is the birth of Jesus. On the Passion facade the interplay of light and shadow produced by the setting sun heightens the sparse and severe character of the facade’s theme, while the Glory facade receives the mid-day sun that will shine on the 16 lanterns of the monumental porch and light up the main entrance to the basilica.”

The thought that has gone into creating this church does not go unnoticed. Everything inside and out serves a purpose, maybe that is the reason why it has taken so long to complete.

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After visiting the church we went back to the Gothic Quarters and searched (for an hour) for a pizza shop my dad noticed on the we arrived to Barcelona. We ended up eating, walking around La Rambla and calling it a night so we could catch our flight in the morning back to the U.S.

I am so happy that Matt and I decided to extend our trip an additional day, I would have been very disappointed if I had never gone inside the church. Even though a year has passed since our trip, I feel as if it was just yesterday we boarded our flight from JFK to venture across the ocean. The trip was perfect and I can’t wait until the next time I step foot in Europe.

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Prague 2016

PRAGUE, Czech Republic –

After our night in Paris we took the bus back to the airport and caught our flight to Prague, Czech Republic. Here we met my parents (Joe and Kath) in the airport and took a ride into the City. We got to our hotel (no Airbnb this time!) and dropped our bags off in the room and began to explore. My parents visited Prague at the end of April, so they were pretty familiar with the area and where to go.We left the hotel and passed by the Powder Tower. The tower is a Gothic Tower in the city. It is one of the original city gates and separate the Old Town from the New Town.

The Powder Twoer, Prague

We then found our way to the Old Town Square where we were greeted by a large crowd surrounding the Jan Hus monument. It was tough to navigate around the many visitors, but once we got closer to the astronomical clock it became even more difficult. ((SIDE NOTE: It was nearly four months since my mom broke both of her legs, so I was nervous she’d hurt herself walking through the busy street. Luckily my boyfriend, I’ve mentioned he’s real tall, acted like a bodyguard for her. There was one close call where a guy nearly took my mom down with him, but Matt jumped in to the rescue.))

Prague orloj during the day

The clock during the day (above) & during the night (below).

Prague orloj at night

The astronomical clock was the first stop my parents wanted to take us to.. and for all the right reasons. It was gorgeous. The clock is a medieval astronomical clock located right in the heart of Prague. The blue/gold coloring on the clock was stunning. The detail around the clock was just so intricate.

John Lennon Wall - Prague

Next stop was mainly for me. I have always wanted to go to the John Lennon Wall. After seeing pictures all across the internet, I knew I had to go there and see it for myself. There’s nothing better than going to see a wall full of graffiti (that’s what it is) and see positive, uplifting messages from people all over the world. That’s the full purpose of the wall.. to bring people together as one. The wall serves as the world’s outlet.

Matt at the John Lennon Wall, Prague
After visiting the wall we just walked around aimlessly taking in all the sights. One funny thing we saw was there is a really small alley in the city. It is so small they have a traffic light to let you know if someone is already in it because the two of you will not fit. We loved seeing that because it was nice to see the City use every inch of their space.

Tiny alley in Prague

After exploring Prague the whole day we ended up grabbing a few drinks at the hotel and later in the evening Joe, Matt and I went back out to get another drink at a bar and explore the streets in the nighttime. Kath was too busy snoozing in her hotel room! Joe and Matt were funny because Prague has incredible gelato.. and the two of them love gelato. I think on our first day there they each had gelato at least three times.
Our second (and final) day in Prague we visited the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) and saw the Jewish Museum, multiple synagogues, the Ceremonial Hall and the Old Jewish Cemetery. What was the most fascinating was the fact the Prague was once the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe. One of the synagogues we went into that stood out to me would be the Pinkas Synagogue (Pinkasova synagoga). The building was built in the 1500s. During the post-war years, the synagogue became a memorial to the Czech Jews who were killed during the Holocaust. Online I read that between 1992-1996 the 80,000 names of Czech and Moravian Jews were hand-written on the walls of the synagogue. I did not take any pictures when inside this synagogue, but as you walk into this room you see from floor-to-ceiling all the names. It leaves you silent with goosebumps. It reminds you how much hatred there was and is in this world. After that synagogue we walked over to the Old Jewish Cemetery, which apparently is the largest Jewish Cemetery in Europe.

Spanish Synagogue, Prague

The last synagogue we toured was the Spanish Synagogue. Even from the outside you could tell this was one of the “newly” built synagogues. Built in 1868, this synagogue was built on the site of the 12th-century Altschul, which was the oldest synagogue in the ghetto. The building was impressive and gorgeous.

Prague Castle

And, last but not least, the last planned sightseeing spot would be the Prague Castle (Hrad). What I loved most about this castle is how simple it was. The castle itself is on top of a hill and is gorgeous on the outside. But when you get through the walls it’s really just a simple village where people once lived. Don’t get me wrong.. the detail on the church and buildings was spectacular. When I mean “simple” I mean it wasn’t flashy. It was just rooms, not full of a lot of expensive things. When you go see the crown jewels in London it is an over the top, “Look at how fancy we are.” There was none of that at the Prague Castle, which I admired. We walked throughout the castle and enjoyed the views of the city below us — if you’re looking for a great view of Prague, go to the castle. You won’t regret it. We even got to see the torture chamber! That was really cool, in a sick kind of way.

After a full day of touring we ended up finding this delicious restaurant my parents ate at when they were there a few months before. You knew the food was going to be good since my mom kept the receipt to remind her where she ate! That is so unlike her.. And believe me, it was delicious. Of course I don’t remember the name. But I’m sure Kath still has the receipt 😉 After eating we made our way down the hill and back to our hotel to grab our bags. My boyfriend and I caught an evening flight out of Prague to Amsterdam.

Prague quickly became my favorite city to ever visit. It was a quaint city full of surprises. Lately I’ve been missing the sites, smells and tastes. I will be back in the near future.


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Paris 2016

PARIS, France –

September 2016 my boyfriend and I went overseas on a 9-day vacation. The sole purpose of traveling abroad was so we could go see Above & Beyond ABGT200 in Amsterdam. We ended up deciding to make a vacation out of the trip and explored France, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Spain. Originally it was supposed to be just my mother and I traveling, but she broke both of her legs so plans changed a bit.
Our first stop was Paris, France. We arrived in Paris around 8 a.m. and grabbed our luggage. We then hopped onto the Le Bus Direct and got off at the Eiffel Tower stop. I had booked an Airbnb that was in the neighborhood of the tower, so it worked out well to take the bus (save some money on transportation). We got to our Airbnb and dropped off our luggage and went to explore the city.

First: Eiffel Tower. We took our obligatory pictures in front of the magnificent tower. I had been to Paris once before, but I forgot just how tall and beautiful it truly was. We bought our tickets and went up to the second floor observation deck. There you are able to fully take in the city. From up above you are able to see Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe.

We chose to walk down the flights to the 1st floor where you can walk on the transparent floor. While walking down the flights I admit my fear of falling almost paralyzed me. Here my boyfriend is practically sprinting down each flight of stairs and I’m gripping onto the railing as if I will be blown away. We took a break from going down the steps and got some lunch. Sat on some benches eating our baguettes and then departed.

Notre Dame de Paris

Second: Notre Dame de Paris. We took a cab from the Tower to the Cathedral and our cab driver was a really nice Parisian. He made sure we were careful with pick-pocketers and gave us some pointers on what to see when we got there. The church is breathtaking. We went inside and admired the stained glass. People were touring, looking and praying. Once we toured around, we went outside to the backyard gardens. We begun talking to a woman who was sitting on the bench with her dog. Funny enough.. she was from the Northeast but was living in Paris for the last few years. We parted ways and walked along la Seine.
We found ourselves at the Tour Saint-Jacques, a very small park with a large statue. There were a lot of people out laying in the grass reading and/or picnicking. We begin to wander around until we found ourselves in a large square. I began to wonder if we were close to the Louvre because I vaguely remembered there being a large square near it. Sure enough I open my maps in my phone and we just had to walk through the doors to get to the Pyramide du Louvre.

Louvre Museum

Third: Louvre Museum. I guess you could say we visited the museum, however, we didn’t go inside. We walked around the entrance since it is open and you can view inside. Neither of us were really that interested in going, and I had already seen the Mona Lisa (and my boyfriend really didn’t care). We hung around the Pyramide and took pictures. In the distance from the Pyramide you are able to see the Arc de Triomphe.

Four: Arc de Triomphe. We got out of our cab on the Champs-Élysées and walked towards the Arc. I think secretly this was my boyfriends favorite landmark we saw.
 1. It honors those who fought for France. He also loved seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War 1 were the flame burns.
 2. This was our last stop before we made it back to our Airbnb.. which meant he had to just finish touring this and then he got to take a nap (HA!)
We bought our tickets and began to climb up the 284 steps to reach the top of the Arc. After a full day of walking around, this climb was hard. We were exhausted from traveling and touring. My Fitbit sure was happy with me! Climbing the steps up to the top was difficult at times because its tight corridors. I am 5’1 and my boyfriend is 6’4, and I was the one who felt claustrophobic. Once at the top you are given another priceless view of Paris. Up there showed us how far we had traveled throughout the day. It was getting late in the afternoon and when we saw how far away the Eiffel Tower it was time for us to make our descend.

Back at our Airbnb my boyfriend took a cat nap (he wasn’t used to walking that much). I was too busy looking out our window and watching the sun set.

View of the Eiffel Tower from our window

One night in Paris: Once we woke up from our naps we went out to eat. Got some delicious food with some much needed wine. We met a couple from South Carolina at the restaurant we chose to eat at. After dinner we got some champagne (cliché) and went to watch the light show at the Eiffel Tower.

Believe it or not, we only spent one night in Paris. We flew in, explored, slept, and then caught a 7a flight to Prague. The trip to France was short. It would have been nice to spend a few extra days to explore more of the city and venture out of the city.

This just means we will have to go back! Au revoir.

We will always have Telluride

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TELLURIDE, Co. – I made the adventure out to Colorado back in August 2016. I have mentioned my passion for music.. My friend and I decided to make the trip to CO to see our favorite DJ, Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith). I flew from MCO to DEN and reunited with a good friend (Emily) in the airport. We got into our rental car and explored the city of Denver and had a fantastic lunch with an old friend from college, Mayowa. Mayowa showed us this fantastic vegan restaurant (City O’ City) and the food was fabulous. It was great to be able to catch up with an old friend in a great city.

Me, Mayowa and Emily

We then met up with my brother’s good friends, Peter and Zac. Peter let us crash on his couch for the night. It was great to see the two of them because it had been years. We went out to this taco place down the street and my good friend Willie (who lives in Fort Collins). What a reunion it was!


The next morning Emily and I got into our tiny rental car and picked up two strangers and headed down to Telluride. I had met this girl in Pretty Lights Mamas that needed a ride for her and her boyfriend from Denver to Telluride. So, we carpooled. Made a pit stop at Red Rocks and then embarked on our adventure.

The drive to Telluride was awful. I will admit that I absolutely hate driving. The ride was supposed to be roughly 6 hours, it was 7+. At one point I am driving up this steep mountain and it begins to downpour. It felt like it was literally raining cats and dogs. Some of the hail dropping from the sky was the size of a golf ball. I couldn’t see anything in front of me.. so naturally I panic. Here I am  white-knuckle driving up this mountain and when I make it to the top the rain fades away. AT LAST. I am free from that horrendous downpour. When I begin my descend I realized there aren’t even guard rails on the side and I am behind a log truck. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. I felt like I was in the movie Final Destination.

Alas! We made it to gorgeous town of Telluride. I was completely blown away by this small town charm. You drive onto Main Street and straight ahead are the mountains. I was in complete awe.

Telluride Main Street.JPG

I loved everything about Telluride. The food, people, animals, mountains.. Everything. We stayed at an Airbnb and our host was one of the most genuine human beings I have had the pleasure to come into contact with. She showed us where we should eat, drink and explore. She, too, was going to see Pretty Lights at the Town Park. She had gone the year before and told us how incredible it was.

Our first night in Telluride we had a few intentional beverages and went to a pre-show at the Sheridan Opera House. We had a surprise show with Michal Menert since one of the DJs couldn’t make it in time. Menert definitely put on a good show.

Friday we ended up going for a hike. We hiked Bear Creek Falls and that was definitely an interesting time. I would like to think of myself as an “in shape” kind of gal. I run, hike, kayak, etc. I’ll just blame the hike being so difficult because I wasn’t used to the elevation. Telluride’s elevation is 8,750′ and once we reached the waterfall we were rougly 9,940′. I live in Florida.. where everything is flat. I definitely got my workout in for the day (weekend). Once we reached the waterfall it was all worth it. We looked out and saw what we had just accomplished. The mountains were untouched and pure.

telluride 3

Now onto why I was even in Colorado in the first place. PRETTY LIGHTS. Holy shit was his show fantastic. We are in a Town Park in Telluride, CO. The mountains are all around us. 8,750′! He’s doing his incredible light show off of the mountains behind us. When we went in the first night we got our drinks in personalized Pretty Lights cups – a souvenir. Dancing two nights on top of a mountain with Pretty Lights is just what I needed to wrap up summer. The food we ate was fantastic (S.O. to Brown Dog Pizza), the parties we had were a blast, the music was everything I could ever ask for — but the scenery of where this show was is what made it my favorite. Telluride is a place I will go back and visit again. This quaint, quiet town won my heart over.

Cheers to Pretty Lights

We woke up Sunday morning (early) because we had to get on the road for Emily to make her flight out of DEN. That ride was horrendous. We had picked up the couple we drove down to Telly with from their Airbnb and hit the road. Again.. what should have taken around 6ish hours took almost 9. NINE HOURS. We hit major traffic on the roads and at one point the girl began to throw up outside of my rental car window (while I continued to drive). Hilariously disgusting. Emily – almost – missed her flight. We made it back to Denver in-a-frenzy.

All around the trip was a success. I got to see old friends, make some new ones, and visit one of the most beautiful small towns in the U.S.

Dear Colorado –  I love you so much. I’ll be back soon.

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Camp Shambles goes to New Hampshire

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So.. I like music.. a lot. I have traveled North, South, East and West to see a DJ that I like. I have even traveled abroad (I’ll touch on that in a different post). I decided to fly back North to see Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith) in Gilford, New Hampshire August 2016. “Camp Shambles,” the name of the group that I camp with at festivals, decided to go to Pretty Lights Live Episodic Tour at Bank of NH Pavilion.


Boy were we in for a treat..

Night 1: Tipper, G Jones, Marvel Years, Outlet & Pretty Lights

Night 2: Atmosphere, Big Wild, Brasstracks, Wax Future & Pretty Lights.

Two FULL nights of dope music. The venue was cool, you had a ‘pit’ area closest to the stage. There were seats in the pavilion and then there was a grass area up hill. Shambles stayed in a hotel for the first time .. ever. We turned into middle-class wooks. And damn, were we proud of it.

We stayed right on the water, which meant drinks on the beach all day and then we’d walk over to the venue when the show began. Pretty Lights put on a great show with some jams. More jams than I had ever heard.. at one point I even forgot what song we were listening to.

Besides the music, the best part of the trip was being able to see all of my friends. I hadn’t seen most of them since before I moved down to Florida. And have no fear, there was plenty of Chillable Red to go around.

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The Big Apple 2016

I went to New York City in May 2016 to go see my favorite DJs, Above & Beyond during their acoustic tour. I ended up going a day early so I could hang out with a few of my friends. We ended up going to this ultra sketchy area of Brooklyn for a warehouse party. When we arrived it was raining, and the show was outdoors. They weren’t selling any alcohol because of code violations – lol – so my friend and I ended up walking around to find a store. It ended up being a fantastic night, despite the rain and sketchiness.

Big Apple 1.jpg

Day 2 in the Big Apple: I met my mother and we took a boat over to the Statue of Liberty. We had such an incredible time walking around Ellis Island, going through the museum and climbing up to the pedestal. While on the Island we found the names of my great-grandparents who immigrated to the United States. This was a very moving moment for me. I had been to the Statue of Liberty when I was very young, but I obviously have no recollection of it. Being able to see the wall with all the names of the immigrants was incredible, especially because May 2016 was right in the middle of a nasty Presidential race. We had a presidential candidate running their campaign on the ideas of hate. The candidate, who is now our President, wanted to build a wall to keep people out of the United States. New York City is what it is today because of the immigrants that came and continue to come to it on a day-to-day basis. We must not forget that the United States was formed by immigrants. That is the beauty of the Land of the Free.

After exploring the grounds of Ellis Island, we made the trek back to Manhattan where we washed up and ate some food. We walked down to the Beacon Theatre, where Above & Beyond was going to play their third and final night in New York City. This show was different than any A&B show I have ever attended: it was acoustic. Tony, Paavo and Jono all took part playing their instruments with a live band and other singers. This was my moms first time ever seeing them – and I think it was the best way to break her into the scene. It was a beautiful production. The voices were fantastic. I was blown away by one singer, Cobi. He was the male lead and he was incredible. He gave the A&B songs that I love a new sound, his sound.