Design your Life – Part II

RelativeLinks caught up with Kimberly Masters in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  When Kimberly isn’t guiding bike tours, she is running her business – Essential Journeys – Maker of Soap by the Slice.  Brandy and I were given a tour of the business, the story behind the art and a glimpse into just one more of Kimberly’s passions.   Of all Kimberly’s stories, the one I find most astonishing, is her time in Alaska.

Leading bike tours in Alaska, setting her own course and following her dreams.

A young woman living alone in Alaska, no electricity or running water.

Fearless, vulnerable, bold.

Living her dreams and not letting anyone define her life.

An example to all of us to live our dreams and be our best self.

Words from a woman who is designing each day of her life –  Traveler, Cyclist, Artist, Business Woman, Dreamer and Role Model.

“Work with what is in front of you each day.”  

“Design your day to have flow and highlights”  

“Reflect, breathe”

“Each day I ask myself how am I choosing to live?”

I would encourage you to follow the links below to learn more about Kimberly and I highly recommend taking a bike tour with her to hear her stories first hand.  She has me wanting to sign up for Morocco Bike Tour in 2017 with her!!!

Thanks, Kimberly for taking time from your amazing life and sharing your story with RelativeLinks.

How connections work….

While we were visiting with Kimberly on her front porch, her neighbor arrived home.  Kimberly said “If you are looking for unique and interesting stories, you have to meet my neighbor.  Her family makes round homes.”    And yes, we were connected with people at Deltech and given a tour the very next day!  Keep following RelativeLinks to learn about “round homes”!

Make the connection…you have no idea where it might lead you…..

Check out RelativeLinks’ video below to get a glimpse of Kimberly’s soap studio and hear her fun stories about goats and Picasso!

Design your Life – Kimberly Masters

Design your Life – Part I

Several women had just finished a four-hour train ride from Paris to Aigues-Mortes to start a France Bike and Barge Tour.   The tour company, WomanTours, had provided all the information you could ever need including our guide’s cell number, but we couldn’t find the barge when we departed the train!   I promptly dialed our guide’s number which I had placed in my favorites the minute I received it –   Kimberly Masters answered my call.  Turns out the barge was literally on the other side of an embankment we were looking right at!  From that moment and for the next eight days,  Kimberly  would guide a bunch of American women who would make new connections daily with each other, with life, and with France.

France Bike and Barge 2016

It was an amazing experience and is worth a writing of its own, but this blog is about an amazing lady named Kimberly Masters, who along with Rosita Menghi, was a guide on my France Bike trip.   As many of you know, I seem to break bones on my vacations.  This trip was no different.  Day one on the bike I wiped out and hurt my wrist.  Seriously, first fall in 15 years on a bike and I do it in France!   Luckily we had a great group of women who pulled together their PHD’s, pharmaceuticals and braces to get me back on the bike the next day.   Yes, a few weeks later I would discover it was broken and needed a screw to fix it, but that is a story for another day.


Essential Journey’s lip lube!

What is important to this story – is the fall forced me to slow down the next day and gave me a chance to connect with Kimberly.  Life is like that, right?  It gives you what you need when you need it.   Life will guide  you in your connections if you are open.  Kimberly was on sweep duty ensuring no one was left behind.  My fall created an opportunity for me to slow down and observe the world more than I normally do.   I took time to talk with others instead of racing to the next stop.  Kimberly and I talked for hours.  She was curious about me and my life, but I was fascinated with her tales.  Guiding tours in France, living in the Alaska wilderness, starting her own business, following her own path.  I thought “she has a pioneer spirit”.    She is a strong woman creating her own life, her way. She doesn’t let fear deter her from her dreams.   She is both bold and nurturing in her actions.  She is designing her life.   Travel, cycling, artist, business woman…   read more about Kimberly in the upcoming blog Design your Life –  Part II.

Music Connections

In September RelativeLinks  posted a story on Ashley Kate Rogers.  It was great fun doing a Facebook Live feed too!  Ashley connected us with her friend Jessica Rose, who happened to be recording her music video -One of the Boys – while we were in Nashville!  A beautiful Tennessee evening made a great backdrop for the event.  Jessica and her friends were inviting and we felt like part of the family from the moment we arrived.  When you watch the video notice Ashley Kate Rogers in the video. Talk about making connections!   The music video was released this month.

Congratulations Jessica!  Be sure to check out the music video -One of the Boys – on Jessica’s website or of the Boys – Jessica Rose Music Video


Jessica Rose
Filming Fun
Ashely’s Tahoe makes the video!



We’re back!!

Brandy and I have both had some life changes in the last month that have distracted us from our story telling. We will update you on those later.  First we want to finish sharing our amazing road trip stories with you!

Remember the road trip RelativeLinks took in September?   Nebraska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida and North Carolina? We made so MANY connections.  We tried to keep up with Facebook Live videos and postings, but there was too much and we have so much more to share with you!

Thanks for your patience and we hope you will continue to connect with us and others!  Watch for our new stories at


#maketheconnection  db2

Tennessee LOVE

Tennessee random connection for a great cause

Brandy and I were fortunate to stop at the Loves in Columbia Tennessee for fuel and connected with a great mom and daughter serving hamburgers for a great cause.  Please take a moment and watch…

“Love’s 2016 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ campaign has begun. And we are proud to raise support for children coast to coast who need care and treatment from magnificent doctors and nurses. Our five-week campaign, August 26-September 30, has Love’s team members creating fun and delicious events for customers, friends and family to get involved.”

New Orleans – a celebration of the living and the dead

Ask anyone – historian, café server, or psychic – New Orleans is an old soul that has lived many lives. Through those lives, it continues to shine with the celebration of life.

The city awakens as if waking from a dream. Trying to determine what is real.  At first slow and gentle and then as energy seeps into its consciousness it begins to pulse with an excitement for life. By dusk it begins vibrating with the sound of jazz and shouts of celebration. Just as the saints and spirits look down from above, the people of New Orleans crowd the balconies for a view of those living out loud on the streets below. The excitement is electric and as tangible as the beads bartered on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

The city reflects the character and diversity of its’ people.    

Food, music and spirit all diverse, bold, colorful, intense and perfectly blended. How else can Voodoo thrive alongside Catholicism? Wedding parties march down the street with a jazz band while Psychics read palms and Tarot cards on the next street? Historians share the stories of the dead while touring the living through hauntingly beautiful crypts filled with over one hundred thousand souls. The city is a celebration of the living and the dead.

And there is suffering.

You feel the pain inflicted on the architecture and heart of the city by hurricane Katrina.  Those who were brave enough to stay have rebuilt their lives and city. They understand life is about how you live each day. About making connections with your past and present. They share their journeys in stories, songs, food and dance. They bond in surviving together and are brave enough to dance in celebration. And they aren’t leaving this city they love.

New Orleans has a new calendar. Before and after Katrina. It defines the city not because it was a disaster, but because New Orleans survived and the people are stronger and living bolder because of it. Levee, Superdome, FEMA, death, disaster – yes these are all words describing the catastrophe Katrina. But so are strength, heroes, love, friends, American courage and thriving survivors.

Thanks for the lesson on connections New Orleans. #NOLA


Discovering “Hat-attitude” at a One of Kind Millinery – New Orleans’ Fleur de Paris

One of my earliest memories of spending time with my Aunt Dayle was playing dress up in her house in Lincoln, NE. Digging through large hatboxes and putting on all styles of hats and shawls feeling glamorous like a movie star. As we get older, we often forget to take the time to play and be goofy with our friends and family. This chance encounter with the Fleur de Paris was a trip down memory lane and reminded me how special those moments are when we let go of being adults and just play and spend time with each other without an agenda.

The Fleur de Paris is a custom millinery and couture boutique in the heart of the French Quarter. This excellent shop has been on Royal Street for the past 40 years and embodies the style and elegance of New Orleans. From the moment we walked in it felt like we had traveled back in time. A woman named Angel greeted us as we walked in and immediately started playing dress up with us. The personal attention of the staff made our experience light-hearted, fun, educational, and nostalgic. Angel was like a mad hatter throwing on all styles of hats onto Dayle’s head. Styles ranging from Ingrid, Coco Chanel, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Fifi hats. With each hat adjusting the brim to find the perfect line that would draw attention to the eyes and compliment the face shape. These personal adjustments of the hats are what make each hat so unique to the person wearing it.

The amount of artisanship that goes into these high-end hats is incredible. From layers of beaver pelts that can take four years to steam and press to vintage flowers and feathers over 70 years old from around the world. The wonderfully practical thing about investing in one of these pieces is that once you own the base you can update it when you want a new style. Simply by adding new pins, flowers, feathers, ribbons, and jewelry, you can transform your base into a completely new hat.

The combination of magical customer service and top-notch quality and design of the hats is what makes this a one of a kind store. This is reflected in their clientele of world-class clients that travel from Australia to Switzerland in order to receive the best service and hats. Clients range from the ladies and gentlemen of New Orleans old society, chart topping pop princesses and rock legends, Derby women, and bridal parties. This type of world-renowned reputation makes Fleur de Paris the largest millinery shop in the USA.

Our experience here reminded me connecting with someone does not have to be a deep or serious conversation it can be silly just like when we played as children. You can imagine the forever bond you create with your bridal party when you have a bachelorette party at Fleur de Paris. Playing dress up with your closest loved ones and sharing the magical moments of making childhood dreams a reality.

Get a glimpse into the magic of Fleur de Paris at



Ashley Kate has a way with words

img_4696It’s hard to believe Ashley Kate isn’t a singer.  But after listening to her sing she assured us she is not a singer – she is a songwriter.    She loves to write the music.  And with comments like “I knew everything I wasn’t, but not what I was” I have no doubt she is going to make it big in the songwriting world.

Ashley and I connected five years ago when we both moved to Colorado for work.  We were transplants in the area and quickly bonded at work and after.  I knew she enjoyed music and had actually taken Songwriter Cruises.  Who knew there even was such a thing?   Last year Ashely moved to Nashville and has since immersed herself in the music scene.  She collaborates with other songwriters, promotes artists, does a little management, joins video shoots, and so on.  She is inspired by others and supported by all she meets.  She truly feels she has found her place in Nashville.

When interviewing Ashley, I asked what was her mother Cindy’s favorite song these days.  (I happen to know Ashley’s mother is not only her biggest fan, but more importantly she is Ashley’s guiding light.)   Which means I knew it would get emotional.   Her latest work in progress is – I’ll Look at Me.  And I must say her lyrics, guitar strumming and voice have grown immensely in the year since I last heard her music.  She radiates love for the music, a strength that comes from a confidence to be vulnerable and a dream shining brightly through her.   She has fallen in love with Nashville the city, the people and the songwriting industry and it shows.

Check out the video Brandy created to hear Ashely’s thoughts on the songwriter experience in Nashville, how technology interfaces with the music industry, collaborating and connecting in the industry as well as more of her music.  Also if you haven’t seen it the Facebook live recording check it out on my Facebook page.

Dreams do come true.  


You can find more on Ashley Kate on her website

In the beginning.

Dear you,

You might be thinking what in the hell is this?   This is a blog.  Why blog?  I’m blogging to share my connections and hopefully inspire others to make connections.  Connect with family like I’m doing with my niece Brandy on our two week social immersion road trip.  Connect with strangers because we are already connected as humans we just need to introduce ourselves.  Connect with your passion.  What ignites a spark in you and fires you up?  Connect with yourself.  Spend time getting to know yourself,  be aware and mindful of your thoughts and behaviors.  What connections are you forming as you journey through your life?

So it begins with an aunt and niece who love to learn, seek adventure and share space with each other.  For two weeks we are traveling together sharing our thoughts and observations, capturing stories and connecting with others.  We hope you will find some nuggets in our stories to inspire you, comfort you, make you laugh and most importantly connect with you.

stay connected…

Dayle and Brandy