Bringing Your Dad to School

Dads

It was “Bring Your Dad to School Day” at my middle school, Upper Darby High School, and I was so excited for everyone to meet my Dad. He was a real estate agent in Beverly Hills. He worked with a lot of big clients and got to meet quite a few celebrities. I once got to meet my hero at the time, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I had asked my Dad to bring him to school, but he told me he couldn’t do that because Mr. Johnson was out of town. I remember being disappointed about that because I wanted to show up Tommy Kingfield’s Dad who was the chief fireman in Beverly Hills. He brought a Dalmatian to school.

Nevertheless, my Dad blew everyone away with what he said about his work. He showed them pictures of the houses he had sold to celebrities. And then in the middle of his show and tell, he got a phone call. He was all smiles and told the person on the phone to park in the back and come to room 112. All the kids whispered amongst each other and tried to figure out who might be coming. My Dad winked at me and then a silhouette covered the glass on the door. We waited anxiously for the door to prop open. The door handle clicked and the door started to open. And in walked The Rock! My Dad introduced him to the class and then he asked me to step up to meet my hero.

I got out of my seat, headed toward The Rock and I shook his hand. His hand was bigger than both my hands stacked on top of each other. I only came up to his belly button because he was so tall! He then told the class about how my Dad had helped him find the perfect home for his family. And he told me that I had the best Dad in the world and I replied, “I know.” We then all took a class photo with The Rock and he signed a few autographs and gave us WWE merchandise. And just as he was about to leave, he told us he had one more surprise. The door opened and other wrestlers walked in! Triple H, The Hardy Boyz, Brock Lesnar and Kane. I kid you not, everyone’s mouths fell to the floor. We were all in awe of the wrestlers because they were our heroes! They stuck around and took pictures with everyone, signed autographs and gave out more merchandise. When the teacher asked who wanted to be a real estate agent like my Dad, everyone raised their hands.

16 years since then, I have followed in my father’s footsteps, somewhat. I decided to become a real estate agent at first, but then I realized I didn’t love it. I then tried my hand at modeling and I found that it wasn’t for me either, so I went back into being a real estate agent. But, this time, I decided I was going to find investors to build communities. I found investors and we decided on hiring Acamas Civil Engineering to handle our planning and development in Florida. After selling out all the homes, we decided to invest once more and build a 55+ community that once again sold out. From there, we moved onto building several more communities and today we have developed and sold over 10 communities.

Let’s Talk About Cancer Charities

Cancer Charities

Healthy T CellI was thirteen years old when my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer. I remember we were all in the hospital with her when she was diagnosed at Northwest Hospital & Medical Center. My Dad got a severe look from my mother to keep it together and my brother, Gael, just broke down. I stood there silently. My Dad hugged my brother, and I told my Mom that I would stay home from school this year to take care of her. She sternly retorted “No.” But, I told her that I had a plan. I had been working on this plan for a while because I could tell she wasn’t doing well. I told her that I would stay home, get home schooled by a tutor and do my classwork online. That way I could stay home and take care of her. And she yelled, “No.” So, my angst-driven, teenage-self retorted, “Well, then just make it quick!” Right after, I remember a loud snap hitting my ear drum before a ringing took over, my cheek burned hot, one of my molars came loose and my head snapped to my right. I turned to my left slowly with my hand on my now pulsating cheek, tears welling up in my eyes and watched as my father went from puffing angrily to his face drooping. His eyes spilled tears, his puffing became murmured howls and his arms pulled me in close. He breathed heavily on my head, and I sobbed onto his checkered button down. My Mom could only watch on with tears in her eyes as her family wept together.

Vista View ChaletI didn’t get to stay home and watch over my Mom. My parents decided it would be best if both my brother and I were out of the house. We went both worked during the day over the summer. My Mom decided against the chemotherapy because she didn’t want to be suffering. I think she knew that there was no going back with the cancer she had. Instead, we took our family holiday one last time. We drove to Lake Wenatchee and stayed in the Vista View Chalet cabin for 3 weeks. My Mom was the one with the most energy. She fought hard to make us all smile and laugh again. I’ll always remember that about her. She never let anything get her down. She wanted to make sure that our last days with her were the best time we’d ever spent together. She passed away four months later.

Because of my Mom, my Dad opened up a foundation for cancer research. We had shirts made for the organization through Charitees. That was probably the hardest year of my life. But, I’ll always cherish the time we had at the cabin. That was my Mom. She was full of life, full of spunk and I am so glad to have known her. And most of all, I hope to one day be half the person she ever was.

It’s Important to Have Dreams

Dreams

NYC-ArchitectureWhile I was growing up, I didn’t have the world, but with enough hard work, I think I will one day make my dreams a reality. I’ve spoken to you guys abut the drawings in my room, but what I haven’t shared is that I used to dream of being an architect. I’m not sure why or what happened in my life to shake me from this path, but I always enjoyed sketching buildings, bridges, and landscapes. Something about it was extremely calming. For instance, my first time visiting New York City, I felt as though the buildings were telling me a story. A story of a time when life was simpler and easier. And that’s something that I’ve always striven for in my life – peace.

Another vacation that impacted me at a young age was my trip to Miami, most importantly, Sunny Isles Beach. Now the architecture is much different than that of New York, but it was still beyond beautiful. It’s like one perpetual Spring Break. Beautiful people, beautiful scenery, and beautiful buildings. Out of all the buildings that I was able to visit, there was a few that stood out more than the rest. I’m not usually fond of posting my feelings about a particular subject, as I don’t like people to disagree with me, but I feel my feelings on inanimate objects like buildings can’t be misconstrued.

Mansions at Acqualina

Mansions at AcqualinaI’m starting with the Mansions because I feel that they are some of the world’s most luxurious residences. They started with a team of world-class architects, accomplished interior designers, and hand-chosen craftsmen from around the world to surpass the world’s expectations of extravagant living. The mesmerizing ocean views are indescribable. I would love to live in a place where I could watch the sun rise over the Atlantic every morning. That’s always seemed so peaceful to me, watching a new day begin as if yesterday never happened. From the moment you step into the Acqualina Resort & Spa, you’re treated like royalty. The caring and trained staff is always at your beck and call. The lobby is by far one of the most impressive architectural feats I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s completely marble and has a 26-foot arched and coffered ceiling.

Regarding amenities, the Mansions has it all – two beautiful pools, cascading waterfalls, exuberant landscapes, oceanfront dining, poolside lounges, and cabanas. In addition to these glorious amenities, the Mansions at Acqualina also maintains a private cinema, children’s center, the Hammam Spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Trump Palace

Trump PalaceThe most iconic aspect of the Trump Palace building in Sunny Isles Beach are the rooftop pillars which jut into the air like sails. It’s quite breathtaking regarding architecture. It makes all the difference considering that the Palace is a luxury waterfront condo which appeals to avid boaters or affluent owners who enjoy waterfront views from spacious balconies. The building is surrounded by lush landscapes and courtyards creating the perfect balance for its residences. Each unit is beautiful in its own right considering they all have ten-foot ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, terraces, panoramic ocean views, and Italian kitchen cabinets.

The amenities are extremely similar to those of the Mansions of Acqualina. (I bet most luxury condo buildings in Sunny Isles Beach have similar amenities to compete with each other.) A two-story lobby with 1000-feet of beachfront access for its residences, with a tropically landscaped entrance, art galleries, a top-of-the-line spa & sauna, and a full-service valet. There are hundreds of waterfront cities in Florida, but I don’t think any of that match up to the glorious Sunny Isles Beach. The privacy and tranquility you can feel while staying in the Trump Palace are indefinable.

Chateau Beach

Chateau BeachLast but certainly not least. If you’re looking for unparalleled luxury and beautiful architecture, a residence in Chateau Beach is definitely what you want. What stood out the most for me in the design of this building (if you could even call it a building) would have to be its curvature. Apparently the curves were modeled after the adjacent beach dunes, while the shimmering walls of glass in the numerous windows would evoke the glow of the ocean waves it overlooks. The design is one-of-a-kind, but it also allows for maximum views of the ocean from each unit.

Another aspect of this project that struck my interest was that its location is adjacent to protected parkland, which means that these incomparable sea views will remain obstructed forever. As I mentioned before, my dream of becoming an architect was highly influenced by my love for landscaping. A beautifully crafted landscape allows us to transcend our mundane lives and step into a form of life that we rarely see anymore. The tropical landscape creates a seamless connection to mother nature with garden walls covered in ivy. Additionally, the property contains numerous oak, cypress, and green buttonwood trees, as well as the iconic Royal Palms & Coconut Trees that make Florida famous.

Making My Dreams a Reality

One day, I wish to live in one of these properties, as there’s nothing I would enjoy more than watching the sun rise with a paint brush in one hand and a mimosa in the other. I know that if I work hard and put my mind to it, I can easily obtain a goal like this.

Leaving Your Mark

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48042159_sI had just graduated from college when I got promoted to marketing manager at the marketing firm I worked for in Miami. I graduated with my marketing bachelor’s from the University of Miami. I worked through my college years to pay part of the tuition while my parents paid for the other half. They didn’t want me to take out loans because they didn’t want me to be in debt. Plus, my Dad always said that the financial aid program was a scam anyways.

I had been with the marketing company for about two years before they promoted me from marketing assistant. It felt good to get recognition for the effort that I had put in. It was an especially proud moment for me because I was a full-time student and a full-time employee. About a year later, I got word of a new position that was opening up in Atlanta, Georgia. I interviewed for the position, and I got the job. I was happy, but sad at the same time. I was going to be a state away from my family and friends. And I was going to have start anew in a whole new world. But, I was ready for the challenge!

I contacted a bunch of movers, but the only ones that really stuck out were Top Notch Movers. They gave me the best quote, and the guy I spoke to, Mike, was genuinely nice and made me feel like I was more than just a customer. I packed my own things because I found out I could save a little money that way. It was fun to rummage through my possessions. I found old yearbooks, my blanky from when I was five years old and my Spider-Man action figures.

49478985_sI said my goodbyes, and I headed up to meet the movers in Atlanta. They were there before I was and they had already unloaded the truck. Once I opened the doors to my apartment, it was no time before they had brought all the boxes in and helped me unpack. I phoned my parents to let them know I was safe and sound, and I set to making my apartment homier.

The next day, I began my first day of work and everyone was very welcoming. They actually brought out a cake at lunch because it was my birthday and they had got word from the Miami office about my birthday. I think I’m going to love working here.

Constant Moving

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7515274_sAs a flight attendant, I got to travel very often. It was the only reason why I took the job in the first place. I knew that I wouldn’t get the chance to stay very long in the countries I would visit, but I would get the opportunity to fly quite often. The dream first started when my family and I traveled to London for the first time when I was about eight years old. I loved the experience of being on the plane, and I loved how happy all the attendants were. I told my mom that I was going to be one of them one day, and she told me that means that I wouldn’t see my family much. At the time, that made me instantly change my mind about wanting to be a flight attendant.

But right out of college, I found it hard to get a job with my liberal arts degree and so I jumped at the chance to make that eight-year old’s dream come true. So, I applied for the job, did the training and certification program and got the job at Delta. My mother told me that she knew it would one day happen. She said I used to play with my dolls and act as their attendant as a child, so it was inevitable in her mind. But, she was more upset that I had to move to Atlanta than she was with my constant flying.

5523406_s Moving from Houston to Dallas was going to be a long drive, and I had no interest in making that drive or asking friends and family to help me. So, I called Hercules Movers & Packers because my family had used them when we moved from Dallas. They gave me a good quote because I didn’t have much to move. Plus, I was moving into a studio in Atlanta. I packed my belongings and flew out to Atlanta and met them there because I sold my car to pay for the move. I figured if I was going to be in the air half the time, what was the purpose of even owning a car.

But after several years of being a flight attendant, I just couldn’t take the constant haranguing from the passengers. I quit and decided to take a job as part of the airport control team for Delta. I’m much happier not dealing with passengers even if the job itself is more stressful. It’s at least challenging and every day is a new adventure. Plus, I can travel whenever I like and actually stay in the country of my choosing now.

Elsa’s Here

Elsa's Here - My First Post

As a young child, I grew up loving to draw. My mother would frequently read books to me and it would light up my imagination. I would sit and draw whatever I imagined from the books after she left my bedroom. I would hold a little torch in my right hand and draw with my left. I didn’t tell my mom about it for a while because I was afraid she would yell at me for not going to sleep. But, eventually she noticed that there were drawings hanging on my bedroom walls. She told me she really liked them. But, what she didn’t know was that I was drawing on my walls and covering up the drawings with my paper drawings.

A year later, I had drawn over my white walls using water colors. I painted a mural of my favorite book scenes over the whole room. I came home from school one day and my mom took me to the room and told me that she wanted me to make another mural for her. I was utterly shocked because I thought for sure she would kill me. But, she told me that she wanted Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the guest room. I asked her why she wanted that and she told me it was going to be for my baby brother. I was so happy that I was going to be getting a baby brother that I hugged her and when Dad came home from work it was going to be a surprise she was going to share with him.

Ever since then, I have been painting and competing. I was honored to have a few of my paintings sell for hefty amounts when an art collector in Berlin decided to change my life forever. And now, with his help, I am starting my own gallery and this site will be my gateway to show the world my pieces. I will also be posting videos of my painting process, blogs of my encounters across Europe and pictures of art and the events that I attend.