As Seen on Facebook

Today I posted this picture to my facebook wall because I thought it was ironic that a US Olympian, who was ridiculed by the media last year for smoking marijuana, is now the most decorated Olympian of all time. Normally I keep my political and controversial positions to myself, realizing the internet is not a great place to air your personal opinion, especially if you use it for business, but I decided this was a pretty bold statement considering the current events in our world and country. By the end of today my post had been reshared 14 times by my personal network, making it clear that my opinion was shared, literally, by my facebook friends.

So in this day and age, when we are connected to thousands of people at any given time, with our information, photos and ideas being shared around the world, sometimes even without out our knowledge, how do we handle this responsibility?

We are told we have to be careful with what we put on facebook not just because what our grandma or little brother might see (my 12 year old brother joined facebook today as well, giving me even more to think about on this subject,) but also our bosses or clients.

This guy may not want to advertise he drinks and drives.

Recently I have had the interesting experience of “meeting” several people in person that I before only knew on facebook. I have had people know things about my life, my travels and my business who I have never met before and while it is flattering it has also brought to my attention the importance of protecting your online brand.

In my industry it is known that Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and now Instagram can be important tools to getting your name and business out there. Your “online brand” is not just important to entrepreneurs or business owners, but to anyone managing their social media profiles.

In a recent Jobvite study, 92% of recruiters said they are using or plan to use social media in their hiring process.

The survey polled more than 1,000 companies. Since they started using social media sites to hire, 50% reported finding more candidates, and 43% said they now find better candidates.

How do we find a balance between being ourselves, sharing our style, opinions and humor without hurting our chances at a future job or even a relationship?

My first suggestion and what I spent a few days last week doing, is to go through old albums and pick out the best and moving them to another album of “keepers.” Many of my albums were old, some even from 2008 and while I stand by my 19 year old self and all the  fun time and decisions I made, I don’t need everyone I connect with on facebook to see. I made many of my albums available to “ONLY ME” with the privacy setting under the edit album setting. This way I still have the photos but they are private to me.

I don’t want to delete all my cherished photos from Spring Break 2008 in Rosarito, but I don’t need the world to see them either.

If you haven’t already, put your family, business associates and potential clients or co workers in a restricted list. This way, if you want to share something with your buddies, like your Vegas vacation photos, you will not regret it when your boss asks if you are feeling okay after such an exciting weekend.

Social media has helped me build my business, raise funds and awareness for non-profits and maintain and build friendships all over the world. It can be a great asset to your life as well if you use it for good, not for evil (unproductive hours wasted on stalking your ex or  playing farmville.) Remember to be positive and to only post things you will be proud of a month or a year from now because once it is on the internet it is there for good!

My video on Your Positive Brand Online!

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Coachella Season. Are YOU ready? Tips & Tricks from a Music Fest Vet.

Its that time of year again, kids. When thousands of music lovers and fashion forward hippies and hipsters fill the desert valley of Coachella for the 3 day music festival. The festival has become such a massive event  it is now two weekends of not only music shows, but parties that rank among some of the greatest I have ever seen and been apart of.

This year I am happy to say I have only one client at one event I am managing , GUESS, rather than last year my double duty with GUESS sponsoring a party during the day and Cosmopolitan Hotel at night. It was nuts, but nothing this promo pro couldn’t handle.

Aside from the obvious advice, (drink lots of water and don’t take so many drugs you pass out in the middle of a crowd,) I have put together a few videos to help with those little things you might not be considering.

GET THE COACHELLA APP FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE! It is Free and will totally help you  map out and plan your schedule.

**It seems as if Coachella is a complete dead zone for cell phone service, regardless of how many Gs you have. Your best bet for communicating with your friends are walkie talkies or get the pay as you go phones. Those worked all over because they run off different towers.**

How to Pack, What to Wear, What NOT to wear, Weather proofing and such:

What to carry with you, key accessories, safety and such:

A MUST HAVE! Kinsey debuts her BRAND NEW Kinsey Scarves line just released for Coachella! Many ways to wear it, for men and women. Adds a colorful, unique touch to any outfit, anywhere! Get yours in time for Coachella, pool parties, summer time, anytime!

www.KinseyScarves.com or contact her directly on KINSEY SCARVES FACEBOOK to get yours quick and support a local young entrepreneur who is pursuing her passion for fashion as well as a career and is giving back to the community! My kind of girl!

Hats off… err.. Scarves off to you, Kinsey!

Want the scoop on one of the hottest parties in the desert this weekend? Rolling Stone is hosting some fun in the sun and I got permission to SHARE! RSVP quick, before it gets too full!

Peace. Love. Coachella. (& Scarves!)

My First SXSW Interactive

You might have heard about South By Southwest.

No, it is not a Southwest Airlines Conference. It is a week long event in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas, where their nightlife regularly thrives, music scene is world known and the people are much hipper than the rest of Texas. Many have compared it to my beloved San Diego and I can see why!

SXSW.com explains it simply: “where the future of media is defined. This unique event connects leaders in the Music, Film and Interactive industries with the companies and agencies needed to succeed.”

SXSW Interactive, which just ended, is focused on emerging technology, a focus which has earned the festival a reputation as a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies. The past few days I have felt as if I was in the center of the future, surrounded by brilliant minds and passionate hearts, all creating change, progress and exciting things for our World!  My mind has been swirling with excitement for all these ideas and incredible inventions/solutions people are creating. I have found myself in some of the most intelligent, genuine and meaningful conversations of my lifetime, often with people I just met. People are interested in what you think, have to offer and have so much to offer back.

I also must include, I enjoy the look on people’s faces after I respond to their inquiry about “what I do”  or “what brings me to SXSW.”  I love breaking down stereo types that people have about someone who looks “ditsy” and seeing the way they completely change their tone or the topic of the conversation when they realize I have unique thoughts and a passion for learning and helping others. It has happened multiple times a day and instead of being annoyed for people being “blonde prejudice”, I’m happy to be changing so many people’s opinions! Moral of the story, don’t judge a brain by it’s cleavage.

Thanks to some generous friends passing on their credential badges to me, I have been able to participate in some awesome panels and lectures including “Blogging for a Cause” and “Philanthropy for Everyone” where 4 experts sat on a panel and gave talks on different tips and answered questions.

My favorite was a lecture by Seth Priebatsch, CEO of SCVNGR and the new company LevelUp which takes the daily deals model and incorporates “gaming” elements and incentives that will keep consumers coming back for more, not just “hittin and quittin” when they use their deal. It was my favorite because it was most informative to the way the market is moving in that area with mobile payments (using your phone instead of cards) and several LMH Promotions clients (ClubHost.com, theDrinkCity.com) are using similar tactics for hospitality.

Attending these workshops with me were Nadav Wilf, of DiscoverSD, an awesome friend of mine who appeared in previous blog What Would Love Do? and fellow Love enthusiast and all around passionate and positive person, Daniel Band . You will be hearing a lot of great things coming from both these inspiring people!

Tomorrow is the final day of the tradeshow, which I am excited to attend and learn more and network with all of these growing technology / social companies and solutions.

As I can hear from my room on the 37th floor, SXSW Music has started, and  with more than 2,000 performers playing in more than 90 venues, SXSW Music is one of the biggest Music Festivals in the US.  I have been keeping an ear to the street, literally and virtually for the best shows in town and have been RSVPing to as many cool shows, among them being DJ’s GirlTalk, DuckSauce and Skrillex, bands The Shins, Neon Trees, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., We Are Serenades and soooo many more I hope to get to see.

I have been advised to go with the flow, which is what I do anyways and trust the Party Gods will put the right adventure in front of me. Be sure to keep an eye out for my blog on the parties and “fun” stuff I have been experiencing here in Austin. Which believe me, there is TOO much fun to be had in this amazing town during this exciting time. Too much to even fit in this post. Until then, nerding out and loving it!

Best Mustache & Bowtie of the Oscars

I have always been a fan of well maintained facial hair and this year’s Oscars had some shining examples of talent, passion and well dressed men with amazing mo’s! They are not just for Movember, gentlemen.

In the tradition of post-Oscars “Best/Worst” reviews I decided to make my own nods to those worthy of recognition.

The Nominees:

Pharrell Williams has been sporting this look for quite some time and doing it well. He does everything well, especially dress well and has been impressing me with his bow ties for years. This year at the Oscars the singer, producer, superstar played the award show into and out of commercials with drummer Sheila E. What a nice change from the usual orchestra. Williams also collaborated with famed composer Hans Zimmer on a number of pieces for the award show.


Zach Galifinakis presented with Will Ferrell and a pair of cymbals and made me laugh out loud when he mispronounced his own name but it was his dapper all white tux and well groomed facial hair that stole the segment. When asked if he had any pre-show rituals, the “Hangover” star said, “I took a bath today and I washed my mustache.”  I could only imagine what lives in there other days.

Brad Pitt’s long hair might be sexy but the long chin hair has to go. What color IS IT? I think amigo on the left’s stache  wins in this picture.

Bradley Cooper is the obvious winner of this category. He is so dashingly handsome and that mustache and bow tie only add to his incredible features. Hey Brad, your mustache makes your eyes really pop. Call me!

Honorable Mention:

Is that Blue Velvet?

You can save me anytime, Captain America.

Of course no facial hair blog is complete without the hunk of all hunks, David Beckham and his irresistible scruff.

I have to shamelessly include a photo of my own handsome date from the 2010 Classy Awards, who sported an amazing yellow bowtie and mustache and put us in a close tie with the “Bachelor” Kypton and Tenley for best dressed couple of the night.

In conclusion, the winner of all winners for the Oscars 2012, who took home a much better guy than Oscar, is this golden girl.  All I have to do is wait for my shot, it looks like I am George’s type!

This is not my first Mustache blog and it wont be my last! Keep growing those sexy mustaches and beards gentlemen and whatever you do, dont shave your chest. Thanks!

What Would Love Do?

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,  President of Discover SD 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.

First, Be Love. Its easy.

A Charming 3rd Sundance

As anticipated, Sundance was a complete success. While working as a hostess at the private events at the Grey Goose Lounge I met some fascinating people and more familiar faces than I can recall. Besides having Quincy Jones commenting on my “nice stems” and SNL’s Chris Kattan creeping on me, I was pleased to meet Elijah Wood and told him my life is incomplete until Wilfred season 2, thanked Richard Gere for an inspiring contribution to my newest favorite book, Me to We and served drinks to the handsome faces of James Marsden, Joshua Jackson and Aziz Ansari (the hilarious Indian guy from Parks & Recreation.)

It was an exciting 5 days to say the least, however, my shining moment was meeting Jason Mraz, my idol (some might say obsession) for the past decade. I was fortunate enough to befriend the director of the Bing Lounge which has been my favorite event every year, known for hosting great music shows of all kinds. When I heard (on twitter) Jason was performing at Bing the next day after the In Search of Incredible award presentation I was thrilled, as I had been following the Search of Incredible since the beginning. This campaign, sponsored by Intel and Asus, high lighted inspirational stories around the World and was hosted by Jason Mraz, who is incredible himself, not only talented but with his involvement in many social, eco and global issues.

The presentation of the videos and winner of the Search of Incredible moved me to tears (which is very rare unless Jason Mraz’s amazing musical talents are involved) and was truly incredible! The venue was so intimate, I felt like we were all a bunch of friends experiencing something very special. During the break between the presentation and Jason’s performance I met the winner, Dan Hedlund and his wife who stood by him through years of chemotherapy and his battle with cancer. It was a true account of love and support and absolute commitment. Truly Incredible. It was just as much an honor to meet them and thank them for being inspiring to me to look past minor challenges in my loving relationships.

Dan, his wife and another “superfan”, Dayne and I took up the front row and enjoyed the hour long set performed by Jason and Toca Rivera, his percussionist/ vocal partner for the past 10 years. These two men, with just their instruments, made some of the best live music I have ever heard (and I have seen a LOT in my 23 years, thanks to my rock n roll ranger father.) The show was also streamed live through Bing, Facebook and Jason Mraz site and yours truly’s front and center dance moves graced the computer screens of millions  of viewers worldwide. You are Welcome, for making that show that much more entertaining! I watched it later and my little blue beret never stopped bouncing!

Jason ending the show with his hit “I’m Yours”  and Yours Truly dancing and singing her booty off in the front row!

After the show, my friend, the director of the event, secretly ushered me (and my new friend Dayne) backstage where we met Jason and Toca! Dayne got his Ukulele signed and I got to finally have my chat with Jason I have always dreamed of (and on several occasions came close to) having. I thanked him for making music with a message, told him “Remedy” got me through high school and his whole last album has been on repeat in my life since 2008. We discussed the Inca Trail (as we have both completed it) and the magic of Machu Picchu. (Our Feliz Navidad video at Machu Picchu was inspired by a less cute video Jason made with his friend there) We joked about surfing back home in San Diego versus Costa Rica and also explained how his blog and general attitude about life has motivated me to be more involved in spreading peace & love at every opportunity. He even wrote me a little “love note” on the set list I snagged off stage, including the message I have adapted as my personal motto “What Would Love Do?” It was a moment I had thought about for years and finally manifested the perfect opportunity. Such an a-Mraz-ing moment it was!

By Saturday night I had already achieved a huge goal but when I noticed Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and the author of my favorite business book, Delivering Happiness, sitting at a table at our event, I knew the Universe was not done giving me amazing opportunities. I had remembered Tony’s favorite drink from when he was the speaker at the 2010 Classy Awards in San Diego and I had been appointed his unofficial cocktail waitress. I caught Tony’s attention, asked him if he wanted a double Grey Goose and soda with a lime and he was surprised I knew his drink and called me over. I explained how I knew him and how his book inspired me to focus LMH Promotions in a direction I was passionate about and for purpose and how the profit came much easier since. His book changed my life and in thanking him I got to explain more of my vision and he was so impressed he made me pinky promise him I would email him and set up a meeting in Las Vegas where the Zappos headquarters is located. I told him to consider it done.

The rest of Sundance was a whirlwind of working crazy events, free swag, the usual amazing parties that went into the early morning hours with famous actors and their agents, producers, musicians and all around awesome people but that’s a bonus to the meaningful moments that have changed my life forever.

SUNDANCE 2012!

Not even home a week and my bags are already repacked, only this time instead of trek gear and bikinis, my bags are stuffed with coats, scarves, boots and beanies, ready for the snowy playground that is Park City, Utah during the magical 10 days of Sundance! The Sundance Film Festival is not only movie premiers and a complete Hollywood takeover of the quaint mountain resort town, but also some of the best private parties and events this part of the world. I’ve had the pleasure of working James Franco’s “3s Company” party, Paramount Pictures Red Carpet event, The Twitterhouse and numerous nights at Las Vegas’ “TAO” nightclub, transformed from a parking garage to the luxurious and exclusive nightclub. Its pure snowmagic and this year will be my 3rd, and best year yet.

My travel companion, Kiersten, is coming for her first time and we are both excited for some work and play and most of all, to network with some talented and ambitious industry folk who can help us find the best way to utilize our own talents. In the last few months we have had some amazing adventures for purpose and pleasure and have taken countless photos and videos. It’s our dream to reach a greater audience this way to inspire and bring awareness to the many causes and organizations doing great things to change the world and who need help! So many people we have met love the idea to make every trip incorporated with a humanitarian element so it is my wish to show how reachable that goal is. Here are just a few of our high lights from Asia and South and Central America:

The Inca Trail!

Machu Picchu!

Costa Rica!

You can see more videos on my youtube channel.

Who knows, maybe next year Kiersten and I will be at our own premier!

Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

To blog about the last two weeks would be like trying to stuff a Reeses peanut butter cup through a key hole. Sloppy, useless and peanut butter everywhere (much like the many “hostel homemade” meals I have had in the past few weeks.) My trustee journal is filled with hilarious misadventures of Kiersten and Lindsay but for the sake of time and maintaining professionalism on my company blog I will save those stories for my travel blog or book one day.

To give you the cliff notes, we arrived in to San Jose and stayed our first night in Costa Rica at a friend’s “house” who so kindly let us stay there before we embarked on our surf safari. I say “house” because this kind of property is unlike anything most people will see in their lifetimes and is closer to the Playboy Mansion than any home I have ever stayed in. Their generosity in letting us stay was greatly appreciated as luxury is a seldom occurrence while “backpacking.”

The next day we hopped on a bus from a local hotel to Tamarindo, a popular beach town on the northern part of the Nicoya peninsula and were immidiately in a cab on our way to another beach town just south of Tamarindo that was much more our style. Avellanas was a little slice of heaven. Much quieter and with zero obnoxious tourist shops, bars, or even a real supermercado, we had successfully found ourselves “off the grid.” We agreed we needed to stay for a few days at least to fully dissolve our former stressed selves into the new “tranquilla” Kiki and Linz. It didn’t take long and with help from our amazing hosts, a Canadian couple who took over the Casa Surf Hostel, Ericka and Dan, we were adjusting to the “Pura Vida” lifestyle quite easily. We borrowed some good books and surf boards, hit the beautiful and wide open beaches, enjoyed Ericka’s incredible fresh and delicious cooking and made friends with the old shirtless surf dude locals Denny and Bob, a hilarious retired psychology professor.

At Lola’s Beach Cafe ^

Our first day at Casa Surf renting a board and sporting the sun protection of the locals: Desitin diaper cream.

Me and the Pelicans going for a wave ^

Kiersten having a blast at sunset on a boogie board ^

We even had a “cocktail party” complete with wine, cheese and ciabatta bread we had been promised by our new friend Denny the night before. To his surprise we showed up with Bob in our “Costa Rican cocktail dresses” ready for some entertainment and although Denny hadn’t remembered his offer from the night before he was good on it and we were definitely entertained!

Avellanas was starting to feel strangely like home and we rang in the new year with a bonfire on the beach with all our new friends and made smores, including a “Virgin Sacrifice” of the first banana grown off Dennys “plantana” tree (banana/plantain hybrid) which made for a delicious addition to our 2012 Smore Fest. After an impressive firework display at midnight we threw inhibitions to the Costa Rican wind and Kiki and I went for a skinny dip in the warm ocean, watching shooting stars in the insanely clear sky and the bioluminescence creating glowing stars in the water around us. (Algae that glows in the dark) It was a magical way to ring in the new year!

Me and Kiki showing our LOVE for the great year that we had ^

This is me, slam dunking 2011 and all of its greatness on the final sunset of the year. ^

Sacrificing the “plantana” with Kiersten, Ericka and me. It made for a delicious addition to our smores. ^

Smores master Linz ^

Smores connoisseur Kiki ^

Although we loved our “new home” and our new friends the travelers inside us were getting antsy to see more of the country so we headed out on a journey south which isn’t as easy as one would expect. Just finding a cab or a ride was difficult and the buses were mysteriously difficult to get information on. After finding a cab we got stuck in a river and Kiersten and I successfully pushed it out of its rut and we made it to Nosara. Guiones beach was my favorite surf spot. It was a bit more of a town with organic produce shops, yoga studios, local art galleries and cute little cafes. Our hostel, “Solo Bueno” lived up to the name and provided everything we needed; a bed, boards, a locker, a kitchen and great company. We enjoyed surfing 3 times a day and I found myself getting up at the sunrise, excited to get out to the beach and see what the waves had to offer. Being born and raised just a few feet from the sand, my heart has always been filled with happiness and peace while at the beach. That is something my father shared with me like his father him and I will forever find solace in surfing or just looking at the surf, imagining myself on the waves. The sunsets were incredible and being paddled out on the water that seemed to be on fire with the reflection of the sun was one of the most beautiful things my eyes have seen.

One of my favorite nights was at a local bar where folk singer / songwriter G Love (known for many collaborations with Jack Johnson) performed for a crowd of 80 people, a benefit concert for the Nosara Surf Foundation, raising money for local schools in need desperate help. We were right up front of course, dancing our pants off and stomping right along with him to the beat and cracking jokes back and forth with him and his guest singer, Brendan O’Hare. He played a great song, “No keeping Track of a Woman Like That”… I think it was written about me and Kiersten!

Of COURSE I had to get a “Surf Dog” during intermission! I worked up an appetite and most people know I LOVE me a dog!

After a few days of yoga, surfing and reading in hammocks we decided to try our luck moving further South. The plan was to stop in Samara, a great spot for snorkelling but while waiting at what we thought was a bus stop we got picked up by a car full of people we met the day before at the concert and decided to go to Santa Teresa with them. The tiny rental car they got was not equipped for the terrible dirt roads much less the 6 people and the luggage we crammed into it.

After 5 hours of uncomfortable yet high spirited driving down the beautiful coast, we found ourselves driving in the dark and unmarked roads, desperate for a hotel. Instead we found ourselves wedged in a ditch, safe but scared and a long way from anywhere we knew of and no phone service. Luckily not too long after a large truck full of Ticos heading in the opposite direction pulled us out of the ditch and gave us all a ride all the way back in to the next town. The kindness of people never ceases to amaze me. The travel Gods had our backs that night!

We continued on to Montezuma, much farther south than we planned but we liked the cute and colorful town and met some really fun groups of travelers while exploring the waterfalls and swinging off rope swings and diving off rocks. We had a bonfire yet again that night and got to enjoy the glowing waves from the bioluminescence once more. Such a treat!

The next day we took a boat tour to Isla Tortuga and got some spectacular views of the bays and islands around as well as a snorkeling tour we really enjoyed. Kiersten’s  dive casing for her camera was a lot of fun to play around with as were the 4 girls we met on the boat who were from San Diego and Los Angeles. They really enjoyed the adventure of traveling and exploring new cultures and wanted to incorporate philanthropy with their trips as well. We discussed ideas and ways to make it happen and could see their excitement grow as we told our stories. It is SO rewarding to know there are other people out there who are ready and willing to help make the world better while viewing all of its glory. It is our dream to continue to grow this “network” of world travelers with compassionate and conscious hearts and minds! I am looking forward to a collaboration with these inspiring and inspired girls!

Fancy photoshop Photos courtesy of “The Blonde Abroad” Blog, EAT PRAY LOVE PARTY

From Montezuma we took a bus and a ferry to Monte Verde on the mainland and immidiately off the bus headed to the rainforest for some canopy adventures. I fulfilled my dream of ziplining through the canopy of the Cloud Forest and even did the kilometer long “Superman” where you are head first with your back and waist attached to the line just flying over the trees. It was beautiful. The 300 ft freefall “Tarzan Swing” terrified Kiersten who has a fear of heights but was the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done! We also took a 4.5 kilometer hike through the Cloud Forest floor and really enjoyed taking in all the tiny details and natural beauty of the preserve.

Video taken by Kiersten Rich, might want to turn it down because the wind is loud and she screams “Shit” a lot but definitely worth watching.

In my Han Solo shirt about to do the “Tarzan swing” much like a bungee jump without the whiplash of being strapped by your feet.

Being a Rainforest Fairy ^

Another 5 hour bus ride and we were back at the “house” of our friend, with a full day and a half left to lay out by their pool, read, relax and enjoy our last full moments of peace and tranquilo! I fully enjoyed it and am so grateful to be blessed with blessed friends who like to share!

The trip back to San Diego was long with a 5 hour flight, a missed connection in Pheonix and a long drive in traffic home from LAX  but I maintained my mellow mood and was appreciative to be back in San Diego safely.

I feel like 2012 is the year of a more “tranquilo” Linz. Life is really too short and too sweet to not appreciate every moment and every blessing. I’ve resolved to smile at the people I walk past on the street, forgive the people that hurt or angered me in the past, say a Thank You before every meal and enjoy the amazing sights and activities all around San Diego, this amazing place I am honored to live with fantastic people! In the 40 hours I have been home so far I have walked along San Diego harbor and through Downtown, caught a sunset on a walk down Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, and hiked to the top of Cowles mountain. I am still living PURA VIDA and no reason not to. 😉 Life is Good.

Christmas in Cusco then Costa Rica…

As fun and exciting traveling the world is there are moments when you realize how delicate each moment, each plan has to be. Kiersten and I are both experienced travelers and would consider ourselves incredibly resourceful, aware of our surroundings and prepared. Days like today make us feel like no matter what you do there will always be curveballs. As we sit in the Lima airport, stranded because we don’t have the proper proof of yellow fever vaccinations we both feel defeated and that “of course” attitude since we have been so excited to get to Costa Rica finally.

Peru has been such a learning experience, learning of the ancient culture, the history and also a lot about people in general; both who we want to surround ourselves with in life and who we want to be. I can’t say much about the current culture of Peru because I have made it a point to have a positive outlook and mindset about life, especially when it gets difficult but it seems that the more you try to assist and show generosity, the more people expect and Kiersten and I are both exhausted feeling like we have been taken advantage of far beyond our means.

Our mission has been completed. We finished the 4 day Inca trail to Machu Picchu and spent yesterday, Christmas day at the Hogar with the girls who we spent so much time, money and effort to fundraise for. Getting there was a complete nightmare. Our host and one of the directors of Peruvian Hearts was aware we planned to visit the Hogar onChristmas day for weeks, yet when it came time for us to leave we ended up standing in the freezing rain for almost an hour, changed taxis 3 or 4 times and still paid for both our taxi and hers and the teens accompanying her. We would have easily paid for a van to comfortably take us all and it would have cost the same had there been any planning by our “guides.” Instead, much of our day was spent freezing, wet, standing on the street hailing cabs or ANY car passing by and now we both have sore throats and very possibly colds.

The time we spent at the Hogar was worth any cold or cost since our simple gifts of hot chocolate, panetone (traditional sweet Christmas cake) and the packs with goodies from GUESS were more than those girls had expected for Christmas. They referred to us as their “Papa Noel” (Santa Claus) and knowing that we literally provided them with a Christmas was more meaningful than anything imaginable. We were constantly getting hugs and pictures painted for us and their gratitude was immeasurable. They had never had an art project like the one we brought and although we simply provided 5 colors of fabric paint and a variety of brushes the girl’s creativity was so impressive. It was the greatest Christmas gift to me to see my idea and hard work pay off as they went nuts over the different colors and ideas they put onto the fanny pack or paper.

“Kristina and Linda’s Spa” Giving the girls mini manicures of Nivea hand cream to treat their chapped and cracked hands and Sally Hansens Hard as Nails to help strengthen and grow their nails.

 

A friend we made at the hostel, Garreth, who happened to live on the same street as me back in San Diego is living in South America now, working through his travel blog and volunteering with an organization to build libraries down here. He also came with us to the Hogar and was an awesome addition. He was playful with all the girls and very funny. He and Kiersten even had a very spectacular dance showcase for the girls while we learned to salsa to Columbian music and played musical chairs. We certainly had a great time and will remain in my mind a success.

Now all we need is a successful rest of our South American tour. Thanks to a couple random California girls we met at the Taca ticket line who let us take photos of their vaccine records and Kiersten’s photoshop skills we have two “Yellow Fever Vaccination Cards.” We might actually finally leave this country and continue on to Costa Rica for the “fun” part of our journey. We are both more than ready!! Luckily we are the two smartest, fearless, travel savvy females we know so I am not too worried, just frustrated that no one, including the airline or travel service that booked our tickets from here to Costa Rica mentioned a specific card we needed. It’s all part of the learning experience. Lets just hope it doesn’t cost too much to change our flights and we can get on standby tomorrow morning or our next fundraiser may be to get us home!

Its Beginning to Feel a lot like Navidad!


All we want for Christmas is wi fi and a hot shower and we found the coolest hostel either of us have ever been to! A Cusconian, hippie, travel party compound with different dorm wings and awesome paintings everywhere, a bar inside, a courtyard with beanbags and table tennis, a kitchen with people from around the world cooking and eating. It looks like a South American party dorm! The study room I am in now has the constellations in actual little lights on the ceiling and above me  is Orion, the archer, my favorite constellation.I feel at home on this big green bean bag chair blogging away next to Kiersten.
Although we love staying with Daniel and his family,  it is nice to be close to the main plaza with hot water and internet.
Its only about 4 soles (1.50 US) to get a cab back to Daniels up on the hill so we will make it back tomorrow to help Rosa prepare the Christmas meal. Kiersten even said she would break her pescetarian ways to dine on traditional guinea pig for Christmas!

I am excited to be back in Cusco for Christmas and glad we are through with the commute we did the last 3 days.
We spent 20 hours over the past 3 days in different cramped tin cans of death on windy unpaved roads with waterfalls and landslides blocking roads we had to drive through. We took video of us driving through a foot of water that was running down the side of the mountain and it literally just running down off the cliff we drove along with no barrier or anything to stop the car from going over. We drove through at least 15 of these road hazards. All without any seatbelts. (Sorry if I am scaring you Grandma, but obviously the angels are looking out for us so thanks for the extra prayers)

Our first night was spent in Quillabamba where Daniel our guide is from. We saw the land where he grew up and spent several years running the coffee and mango farm, raisig his 3 younger siblings while his parents were in jail for being revolutionary union organizers, fighting for the rights of the local people. Such an inspiring story and an honor to know such a wise person.

Its a really small town with a really colorful, fun and friendly vibe. It reminded me of the same coziness of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Kiersten and I agreed it felt familiar.

While visiting a dining hall where Daniel’s friend throws events for her restaurant, we were invited  to come back to the party later that night, which we learned was a Prom!!
So we did what any 23 year old American girls in Peru do when invited to a Prom: We rented dresses from the shop across the street from our hostel and showed those teens some of the best moves of the west.
It was an awesome night. Footage to come soon!
The second day we spent another 5 hours in a sketchy cramped car only this time we had to get out at one point and cross over a makshift bridge about 50 yards long and 100 feet above a rocky muddy river. The bridge was simply two 2x4s laid across steel beams unsecured so balance was key. I dropped my poncho halfway across and two of the workers scrambled down into the ravine to retrieve it for me and fought over who got to return it. Such chivalry!
Although it was the Summer Solstice it was rainy so I was happy to have my poncho still.  We missed  some amazing solstice festivals and parades in Cusco but being in the jungle made up for it…We went to one of the sites of the last Incan refuge where the last of the Incas were tracked down and killed by the conquistadors who also destroyed all evidence of how the Incas lived. A shame. Kiersten and I wondered what our world would be like had we learned  more from them.
The sun did come out for a few hours while we did the tour and while we gave our offerings of coca leaves in the Incan fashion for the Intitayta (sun god and most important God to the Incas)
Daniel our guide played his flute for us as the sun went down on the longest day of the year here and Kiersten tried to bring back her high school first chair flute skills. Apparently an Incan flute is much different but I applaud her effort.

Overall the near death car rides were worth the spiritual experience we got at the last known Incan sites where not a single other person was around. We definitely felt the spirits.  Speaking of spirit, I am actually feeling the Christmas spirit back here in Cusco. There are street performers in the Plaza de Amras and all the lights and decorations are really pretty along the old colonial brick roads and cathedrals.

It feels like a real Christmas and I feel like actually getting in the spirit which is rare. It feels more genuine down here, like people appreciate their family and the meaning of Christmas so much more. It is more important to share a panetone (big spice cake that comes in a box with a handle) than presents.

Kiersten and I have been blogging machines for hours now and are the last remaining travelers in this study. Both of us are craving our own panetone to share in celebration of Christmas Eve in Cusco. I am so blessed to have this opportunity and a wonderful “non-domestic partner” to share it with. Excited to spend Christmas back at the Hogar with the girls and bring our Christmas surprises to them. The true meaning of Christmas is sharing your love, remember that.