Archive for December, 2012

December 23, 2012

A Tribute to the Families of Newtown: Use Today To Be New

On December 14, 2012, this world witnessed one of the most indescribable, heartbreaking and unsettling tragedies of all time. Shortly after that terrible day in Newtown, a friend asked me to write a post to help; to write words of inspiration and hope. I have to be honest, I tried to write. I tried to write something or anything that I felt could help someone who was involved, or even for some of us who weren’t involved at all but still couldn’t sleep at night. But I couldn’t write anything. How could my words, or anyone else’s words, make a difference? How could my words make a parent, sibling, grandparent, or child who was there that day, feel any bit better? So I didn’t write anything, which was eating me from the inside out.

I still may not have the answer, and I by no means feel as if my words on this page will solve everything. But a few other recent events got me thinking – maybe I do have something to say about it all. So here it goes.

Until four days ago, I couldn’t really tell you anything about the apocalypse scare. To me, that is what it was – just a scare. I hadn’t paid any attention to the details of why some people thought the world was ending, nor did I know that many people were out there literally preparing for doomsday. Nonetheless, a few days ago people started to talk more intensively about the world coming to an end, and I started to listen. A friend of mine, who also didn’t know entirely much about the whole ordeal, came over on Dec. 20th to watch a movie. We stumbled upon Steve Carell’s, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”, which we didn’t even know existed. Turns out, this movie was actually pretty fantastic – and really got me thinking. In the movie, the world really was going to end. The characters in the film had three weeks to do whatever it is they wanted to do with their last remaining days. Some reunited with old love ones, some ate anything they wanted to. Some didn’t change a thing in their routine, some prepared bomb shelters for doomsday. Most people, as you would image, finally started living. It took doomsday to change the things they didn’t like about their lives, to finally apologize or give forgiveness, to stop and smell the flowers, or be brave and tell that person they were in love with them. It took doomsday for them to be the person they always wanted to be. And while I didn’t really believe that my real world was going to come to an end, I thought about “what if?” Am I who I would want to be, if tomorrow really was the end of the world?

The other ‘hype’ of the past few weeks has been preparing for yet another “ultimate” New Year’s celebration. Everyone has to get dressed up, have fancy plans and ring in the New Year just right. Right? Well, every year this sort of turns out to be a mess and seems slightly overrated to me, but still the idea behind  the New Year rings right every time. The New Year is a time for resolutions that you may, or may not, keep. It is a time to have a fresh start, clean slate, and new beginnings. It is a time to look back and appreciate where you’ve been, but look forward to where you want to go. It might take you some time to get used to writing a “3” in place of the “2” for the year, but eventually you’ll like the feel of it. The New Year helps many people to feel like they can be new, do new things, and have new goals. Of course, most people don’t stick to the things they say they will, and I know this. But what if we did? What if we all made the positive changes we each needed? What if we really became the people we wanted to become? What would the world look like then?

This week, I volunteered a little bit of time at my church to help put together 60 gift bags for a local Women’s Shelter here in SF. We filled the bags with many essential items, such as shampoo and soap, but also had fun items like a scarf and jewelry for the women to receive them at their Christmas party. On Thursday, I helped deliver the bags to the shelter. As we were making our several trips in and out from my car, we passed by the lobby where a woman had walked in, seeking information about how she could get help. I didn’t hear much of the conversation, nor did I need to. The point is that she recognized that her life wasn’t headed where she wanted it to go. She wanted to change, she wanted to be new, and she recognized that she couldn’t do it alone. In that moment, the world became one step closer to becoming a better place.

To the families and children of Sandy Hook Elementary School, my sincere prayers and thoughts are with you. My words will never change the course of events, and may not make any peace offering for the pain in your heart and suffering in your community. But this is what I know. We cannot accept a place of evil and violence to surround us. People can change, and should change. The world should change. We, as human beings, are not done yet. We have so much more to learn from each other, on how to be better people. Every single one of us has an opportunity, every single minute, to do something good. Each of us can change for the better. We are not done. My hope is that it doesn’t take doomsday, or tragedies, to remind us of this. Let’s teach our children to be good from the start, to hold true beauty in their souls. Let’s remind our friends that we are all living in this world together and let’s show our families love in our behaviors. Let’s help those who need help, and let’s look within ourselves to see what we need to change. I know that your community will forever be changed, but I know it can be new. It’s written in your name.


Today, every one of us has an opportunity to make a new decision, or take a new path. Today is not too late to be the person you want to be. Don’t wait for doomsday, or next New Year’s Day. Use today to be good, kind, and selfless. Use today to start living, in memory of those who are not able to anymore. Be here today. And never, ever, forget the families and children from Newtown, Connecticut.

“Time turns flames to embers, you’ll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too
Minds change like the weather, I hope you remember
Today is never too late to be brand new” – Taylor Swift

See you in the New Year.


December 12, 2012

Keeping the Earth Below My Feet

It is no secret that I have been enjoying my time in San Francisco, and certainly have loved living life. This year has been one that will forever be ingrained as an era of adventure in my life that I will forever wonder how I was so fortunate, blessed and deserving of the experiences I’ve had at my young age. And while I may never exactly know the reason why I’ve been able to do all the things I’ve done – one thing is for sure. I am not taking any of it for granted, nor do I plan to start.

With so many great recent experiences, trips and travel, career achievements, and the year coming to an end, narrowing down exactly how to explain it all left me staring at a blank page; typing, deleting, typing, and deleting. What has stuck with me is how much I appreciate all of it, and what my plan is – to never take it for granted.

These are a few of my favorite things. These are a few of the things that will always be most important to me, and the reason I believe I am able to experience such great things at such a young age. These are a few of the things that will constantly keep me in check, keep me grounded, humble and sincere. These are a few of the things that I couldn’t ever do without. These are a few of my favorite things that motivate me to keep the Earth below my feet.

Family & Friends
I talk and write about my family and friends all the time, I know I do. I love that while I moved away to live this adventure, I’ve still stayed close to home in so many ways. Many people have come to visit me, in fact, in 2 years I have had visitors at least once a month. And I have met some of the most wonderful friends in SF that have truly become family. From my first Friendsgiving, Fleet Week, getaway CA trips, picking grapes at a Napa vineyard, and experiencing this city on fire for a Giants World Championship win, to a sister’s weekend in Seattle and ice-skating with my Dad in Vail, the time I spend with my family and friends is invaluable to anything else in my life.

Giving Back to My Homeland & New Home
I believe that giving back is one of the best ways to understand others and yourself. I am thankful that I have found ways to give back, both to my homeland and to my new home.

When I very first moved to San Francisco, I was looking for ways to spend my time and meet new people. I found this incredible grassroots nonprofit that I identified with that had a small office not far from my apartment. I started volunteering for One World Children’s Fund, helping with planning events and doing their communication and website edits. OWCF supports several charities in other countries with resources, some financial help, structure and assistance. One of the organizations they partner with is called Hlomelikusasa , and is located in South Africa. Hlomelikusasa is a community based organization that offers support to and provides meals, clothing and school supplies to children. I applied to be the Champion for the One World Children’s Fund, raising money and awareness throughout the year specifically for the Hlomelikusasa organization. My goal is to raise the amount of money it takes to run one of their three centers. This Friday, Dec. 14th, my amazing friends and I are going to enjoy the SF Holiday spirit and raise money for Hlomelikusasa at the same time – on our Holiday Hotel Bar Crawl. You can find more information about Hlomelikusasa here, or about how to donate or attend our event here!

I am extremely excited to be playing a part in helping the Hlomelikusasa women, and especially happy to be helping and giving back to my homeland. However, I also wanted to find ways to give back to this amazing city that I now live in, and one that has been truly great to me and certainly been fun to live in. My friend Sam and I have found a great church that we attend (whenever I am in town), and have volunteered to help with serving the city programs. One of the fun activities we get to do is collect and put together gift bags for women at a local San Francisco Woman’s Center, filled with items and some holiday cheer. Serving has been extremely rewarding, but mostly uplifting and inspiring to understand other people’s stories.

Learning From Others & Myself
Within the industry that I’ve started my career, I have been so fortunate to have worked with one of the most impressive and inspiring woman of all time. I wish that my time learning from her could have extended longer than the tail-end of her 43 year career at my company, but I feel fortunate to have spent the time I had. I feel special that she flew across the country to spend the last remaining days of her career with me in San Francisco, speaking at an event I organized. The business community and free enterprise system owes massive amounts of respect to Bernadette Budde, and I certainly have learned so much from listening and observing everything she has to say. More than that, Bernadette will always be such a role model for me, on how to be an influential and iconic woman in a man’s industry, how to balance the fun with the work, and to constantly be a curious mind and understanding soul. I thank you, Bernadette, for getting Gov. Jerry Brown to speak to us at that Starbucks coffee table, for loving sports more than most men do, and for staying true to who you are and what you believe in. You are a reminder to me that learning from yourself and others allows you to have a much better perspective on how the world turns. Thank you for your service to BIPAC and this country.

Expanding My Horizons & Experiences
This year I’ve had the chance to do some pretty neat things. I traveled to 10 states, and visited more cities than I can count. I’ve experienced Washington DC with breathtaking views of the White House, and I’ve danced with a real cowboy in Texas. I was a guest date to a Marine Memorial Ball in Florida, and I did an unexpected 10 mile trail walk with friends in Idaho. I stood next to my sister’s side as she got married in the Dominican Republic, and had a fabulous Bachelorette party for her in SF and Napa. I spent time with my brother at the Taste Of Charlotte, and toured the state of Colorado with my parents and granny. I had a real Seattle experience and reunited with girls from college, and was able to spend a lot of time at home in Arizona. Trips to San Diego, LA, Monterey, Tahoe, Napa, and more have only deepened my love for the Bay Area. I hope I will always be able to travel, meet people in new places, expand my horizons and always have a first time experience at a first time place.

Want to See the World Change & Be the Change You Wish To See
The world isn’t perfect, and neither is my life. I don’t write this blog because I feel like what I have done entitles me to anything, and I certainly don’t feel like everything is perfect every day. I write this blog to focus on the good, on the things that are my favorite about life. I write because I want to inspire, and I am inspired by living life. I am inspired by the little things. I am inspired to keep the Earth below my feet, and to help make the world go ‘round.

Keep the Earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn
Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn. ” – Mumford & Sons

So as I sit here on the plane headed back to San Francisco, I certainly feel thankful for what the past few days have brought, and for the excitement to be back home (even if it is only for 2 days). I thank you for reading my blog, and hope that you enjoy reading it too. You, too, are one of a few of my favorite things.


Love, Chianne