All the roads leading back to Colorado

It’s been a hard couple of days and I can believe we are moving again!

It’s been a hard couple of days, as I try to box the entire house to move again. Hard to concentrate, hard to get things done, always being distracted by the new possibilities I might find in my new home. Every time I seat at my table to write, I look at the blank page for a couple of minutes, until I get up again, and start to pack another room of the house.

I’m dusting off my snow boots!

All this move has affected my creativity in every possible way. I cannot just turn off my problems and sit down to write. Not this time. We are moving to Colorado, after spending a year trying to make it in Austin, Texas. I can’t believe I’m dusting off my boots after only a year!

Austin is a very nice place if you fit in one of the boxes: you either work for a tech company, you live up the north side of town, or you are part of the young bubble that can afford to pay 1800 in a studio apartment. California prices in Austin are beyond the reality of normal who wants to make a living here.

My jobs are always related to the hospitality industry, I have over fourteen years of working with it, always being in front of the house, yet, I couldn’t get a job in Austin. I see it as either a sign for me to keep improving and getting better in a different area of Austin doesn’t like outsiders, who are not from Texas. I lived in the South before, and I faced the same difficulties I have been facing here.

I don’t know what to expect this time

I don’t know what to expect from Denver, because I’m trying to keep my peaceful state of mind to not freak out. When I lived in Eagle-Vail, in the 2009 winter season, I went to Denver for short trips, I never actually lived there. In 2009, I worked at The Ritz Carlton- Bachelor Gulch, in Avon, but the hotel decided to close for maintenance after the winter season. Most likely because of the Financial crisis.

I couldn’t get a transfer replacement and my visa was canceled by the company, as they sent all the international employees back home. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life. When the opportunity to relocate appears the first thought in my mind was “You won’t ship me back home, bitch! Not this time!”

Young Joana in 2009 at Vail ski slopes

Colorado is a beautiful state and two of my best friends live there, the other Sanderson Sisters. I can’t wait to be close to them. I don’t ski, but I do enjoy watching people coming down the slopes, while I eat at the restaurant.

Moving again is nerve racking and that’s why it has been so hard to concentrate. When you work in a hotel, you just shut down any feelings, put your clown make up one, and pretend your problems don’t exist. It’s hard to do that when you are working from home.

Managing distractions

With the distractions I have to manage, my inability to sit still, and the phone, it usually gets me staring at the wall, in disbelief of my purposes in life. I’m not sure if it’s the Covid Era we are living through, my move, or I’m tired of everything and just need a break. A real break. But with that, it also comes with the stupid idea of taking a break from something you are working on, which means you are being inconsistent and unreliable. I have been reading a lot on what makes a blog a better blog and this is another point of exhaustion.Pinterest is driving me nuts.

Just like Instagram for the normal people and Linkedin for the Ceo, Pinterest comes in a category of distraction and a world of possibilities of what could wrong trying. Whatever you click on, you get more and more of the same. Just like every other social media, it’s set up to control you and drive you crazy. Posts like “10 reasons why your blog is not working” or “ Start making 30K a month in 6 months blogging”.

Here is what they don’t tell you:


1: You have to have a strong niche, like a fit blog, mommy blog, cooking blog


2: You have to post consistently, like many posts a month, build a following with a mailing list, live, and breathe the blog.

3: It’s not instant. It might take time and commitment.

Honestly, I’m almost sure that people with successful blogs are the ones writing it. They make the blog a company and start hiring people for different areas. It’s a team job. You have to have a business plan, a social media crew, and all those things cost money, and not all of us have investors. Some of us start from the bottom.

Writing the posts myself, it gets hard to concentrate when hard times hit. I ran out of my CBD oil at the worst possible time, so I’m relying on my homeopathic Brazilian medicine. The message my friends, it’s giving yourself time to just wander. Life is not a competition and mental health is more important than ever, as I repeat myself.

Go ahead and teach yourself some new tricks

Learn about blogging its important to keep me motivated, another reason why I’m not too inclined to write posts these days. I’m improving my other pages on the blog to boost the SEO traffic, learning how to market on social media. I’ve watch plenty of youtube videos about rich kids who made a blog about decoration at their first apartment. In reality, I guess that was where the exhaustion part comes from. When all I learned starts working, I will write about it.

Let me know in the comments what are you working on to improve your blogging skills and if you have ever been to Colorado!

2009 – Vail

Five podcasts to listen for self-care

I grew up listening to the radio. My mom used to turn on the radio in the morning, while we were having breakfast together, so she could listen to the host pray and inform her about the news. Time goes by and the the radio is replaced by electronic devices, like the mp3, mp4, and iPods.

None of this contained any kind of information, lectures, or prayers, only music. In 2004, the audio blogging took flight, only to make life more enjoyable for people who can’t focus on reading. It makes a lot of sense, as time passes, people are more and more into their phone, instead of the book. The attention span is real. 

The podcasts become a type of radio on-demand, where you choose what kind of information you like, the genre you enjoy listening to. Or you if you are like me, and you can’t get enough of your favorite author and keeps digging for more. I have been listening to podcasts for a few years now, and my favorite ones are, of course, the authors I read, who are most likely to be self-improvement writers. 

Never having money to pay for therapy, I found on the shows, the voice of guidance I needed. On my daily walks, during quarantine, I constantly tried to find someone to tell me what the heck was going on in my brain, and how could work through it. There was too much information on my mind, too much time to think, and much more time available to feel useless.

I’m not saying that podcasts should ever replace therapy. But I also understand that when we don’t have the money to pay for professional care, we have to find different ways to cope. Many people found peace in meditation, I tried and got 10 minutes max. Days I can seat through, and days my mind is on full speed. CBD oil helps me to balance whatever it dancing inside of my brain cells. 

Here is a list of the five podcasts I listen to for self-care and daily boost!

Happier – With Gretchen Rubin

The book “The Happiness Project” saved my life in 2014, when I needed to find some joy in my life, after moving from Chicago to Georgia. At that time, nothing seemed right, and I was looking for words of encouragement. I found it and recommended the book to everyone. Gretchen studies happiness and with her sister, they created the podcast with the same name. They always give you tips on how to live happier and improve your habits in your daily life. They have book clubs on happiness, newsletter, and all the fun content while helping us to improve our life.

The Rachel Hollis Podcast

Rachel Hollis is like a mentor to me. Some people have Oprah, Michelle Obama I have Mrs.Hollis. I read both of her books and now I need to get the newest one, “Didn’t see that coming” because I have this weird feeling even though she doesn’t know me, she knows what’s going on in my life. Last year, while I walk around Chicago, I listened to “ Girl, Stop apologizing”, in the audiobook format. I laughed, I cried, I pushed myself through the words I was listening to: Find the reasons why you are creating the excuses to not do what you want it, and fix it. After I finished the audiobook, I was in desperate need of more guidance. Again, also much like free therapy. The podcasts had many words of encouragement and solutions for your mind and souls. 

On Purpose – Jay Shetty

I found out about Jay Shetty when he was on Mrs. Hollis’s show to talk about his life changes and new book. Jay left everything behind in his 20’s to become a monk in India, for four years. In his podcasts, he talks to people about self-centering, meditation, care, and mindedness. He talks about the importance of meditation and to look inside yourself, as you are the only person you will ever have to please. It hit me hard when he said that some people choose their careers based on what is going to make their parents proud and happy, instead of the individual self. I had to choose hospitality management first because that would allow me “to get a job and pay the bills.” Only took me 14 years to get out of the rut of getting paid to serve others. 

Unlocking Us – Brene Brown

Another favorite writer, Brene Brown talks about unlocking our true potential by daring to live a more fulfilling life. Having the audacity to show up for the fight and half of the battle is conquered. Brene is a Ph.D. in vulnerability and in her book she talks about fragility and how we don’t accomplish what we want, mainly because we are scared of being judged. How many times I put up a story I would like to write because I didn’t think people would like it, or understand it? Afraid of being judge set many steps back in my life and still is. Nothing is ever good enough and I’m always self-doubting myself because someone else is better, has more experience, and more funds to get the project done. There is also the fact that I’m an immigrant and I have to walk around the block three times before I ever think I’m good at something to move on with my projects. 

To be continued – Cristela Alonzo

This is not only about self-improvement, is about laughing at yourself and situations life throws at you. Cristela is a stand-up comedian, actress, and hilarious. I watched her standup special on Netflix and the joke about how the tomatoes of WholeFoods have better treatment than she ever will stay on my mind forever. The entire bit of WholeFood is hilarious. Thankfully, at least one good thing was, when the quarantine started, she started recording a podcast alone in her house. I was walking to Target alone and laughing at her story about how they didn’t find out about Vicks to cure the Corona Virus. Cristela is Latina and the daughter of immigrants, so she knows the drill, and her jokes are very much alike to what I live through in this country.   

Add on- Creatively Disrespectful  

It’s more like a daily rant about everyday life. Demeatrie is a Chef, Entrepreneur of Color, author, and a very dear friend of mine. Creatively Disrespectful is about the challenges she faces in the culinary industry, the difficulties that it takes to run a business during the pandemic. While still keeping the joy in cooking for people. I participated in a few episodes, complaining about Austin, talking about the events we worked together while still in quarantine, and tv shows like 90day fiancee and Love after lock-up.   

These ones are my favorites and listen to it on a weekly basis, some of them are released on different days of the week, so you can subscribe to all of them and listen on your way to work or as you please. 

Hope you enjoy the list of podcasts!

See you in a few days!

J.G.Snelly

Dear 2020,I had enough.

When 2020 started, I walked to the balcony and said my prayers, being thankful for all the changes the past year brought me. I cheered to the new decade, a new beginning in Austin, and hope to be able to fight something fierce for my dreams. A few days after, in January, we went to LA, loving every minute of it. But then, that was it, no more good times. At all. Dear 2020, I’ve had enough.

There are no words to explain the chaotic year this was.It feels dystopian. I don’t even know where to start explaining how this lockdown and avalanche of difficult situations messed with my mental health. Not to politicize my post, this is also an election year in America. Couldn’t get any worse than that. We don’t have peace of mind, as every single day is a fight to see who is going to save us as no one does anything besides fighting for their own causes.

The mainstream media, the lies, and the alluring of politicians making whatever we are going through about them. Twitter is a battleground, no way you can keep your sanity on that place. Facebook became a political platform, where everyone from your high school, who never let their county, thinks that Mr. Reality Show “you are fired” President, are working to make their life better. These people fight you like they are fighting for their lives. It’s yelling, accusing, bigotry, and information they find in their butt. I deleted both apps from my phone. I’m not a robot or a social experiment for a software engineer to play with mind and feelings.

If you didn’t watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, please do it. The Social Dilemma is a documentary about how Facebook and other social media, how that influence people’s minds, and in some cases, like my country Brazil, elected a President. That man just convinced the population with lives on Facebook, instead of participating in person debates, that he was capable to be the leader of the country. Spoiler alert, a Donkey would do a better job than he is doing. Add that to the fierce allies and followers of these people and you can’t even say your opinion out loud unless you agree with them. I rather keep it to myself and talk to people I know about what I think of this mess.

We are all in this together

At the beginning of locked down in March, we didn’t know how long that was going to last. We are in October and we still don’t know how long is going to last. I heard someone saying: “When are we are going to have our freedom back?” and someone answered, “when we take it back.” America is not a free country. Separations, clusters, rich versus poor the whole country is divided. I always wanted to move here, now I’m not even sure if I want to stay. How long can a person live in solitude, only communicating through devices, as ordering food, groceries buying books, etc.? We are all on a verge of losing it.

I need to be able to travel and see different places. I need to be able to make plans and dream about different possibilities. Everything is on a stop right now. I’m always expecting the news announcing another lockdown, I’m losing hope of something getting fixed and we go back to our daily routine. My routine now consists of: walk around the house, pack to move, call my family, walk to Target, walk around Target, and go back home. For the past 7 months. I also listen to podcasts and music, but I can’t concentrate to watch a movie in one sitting.

Rent is due, from 2016.

This lockdown affected everyone I know in a different way. If you didn’t make a big life decision during this time, you will at some point. I have friends crossing the country to start over in a different state, I have friends who got divorced. Friends that are considering leaving the country and me, moving to Colorado, without having a place to live.

Two weeks ago, I found out an apartment I lived in Georgia, between 2015 and 2016, put me on a National Credit System. I didn’t know until I applied for apartments to live in Colorado, because they check your residential status on a website called Onsite, for Rentbureau.com that I didn’t even know it existed. I don’t know how would that affect my livelihood, because I’m not even the primary renter, my husband is because he is the only one working.

2020neeee

It’s the weirdest situation I have ever been put on. My credit is great, and I’m just an adjacent to the primary renter, yet, we can’t rent a place to live. Even though we have been renting houses for the past 4 years. This week I lost my mind multiple times. How can you do that to people in the middle of the pandemic? We need a place to live, my husband has a job, we have the money to pay the deposit and the rent, yet, because of the stupid apartment complex we lived in during 2016 and because they lack providing security to us, we left. The place was sold and changed administration, but I can’t apply anywhere to live in Colorado. Forbidding people from renting should be illegal. Apartment complexes shouldn’t be allowed to do that, that’s sketchy, especially during the pandemic. People need to be better.

Although are fixing the situation, we are probably contacting a property lawyer to help us out soon. That itself debunked my mental health. I can’t focus on anything, I want to cry while packing, and if I knew that before, I would 100% have fixed it. I can’t even get excited about the move and I love moving, not the process of it, but getting to a new place to start fresh, it’s enlightening.

Mental Health is important.

There is an urgent need to refocus my energy. I have been trying to for the past 7 months, it’s not easy to remain calm and positive at this point. I wonder how many people are in the same situation, feeling like a complete loser without any direction in life. Hang in there, friends, like High school Musical says “we are all in this together!”. The only thing keeping me sane now is this blog and the dinners I get to work.

Be safe, stay healthy.

J.G.Snelly