I am a 36 year old woman who may not live in "The Big City" but I like the little city I live in and there is a lot that goes on around here too! This is a place where anything can happen..or be written about!!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010


I met Delvis about 7 years ago..give or take a little. My next door neighbor at the time was playing a gig with his band Lee Harvey at the Edgewater Cafe  in Salem (which is no longer there). Being new neighbors I thought it would be fun to get to know my neighbor better as well as being entertained, so I went with some friends to the show. The opening act that night was a guy named Delvis. Delvis had his "Buddy Holly" glasses on, and a suit, and was singing a song about him getting any girl he wants. My first thoughts were
#1 Wow this guy definitely like to perform
#2 He may have a little bit of an ego
#3 but  he does have a really nice voice.
My friends and I were entertained for sure. After Delvis's set he came over to my table with my new neighbor, I told him he had a nice voice and he asked me to dance.

I saw Delvis performed out and about over the years.  I then injured my hip and was out of commission for awhile. Randomly two years later I got an email from him .. "How's it going? I haven't seen you in a while. Del"  .. ..that email led to a few more, than to coffee, and here we are a year and 8 months later in our apt chatting about him,and his music,which is what brought us together in the first place.

 I told Dennis recently that I thought Delvis was his real name for the first five years I knew him. When he gave me his phone number I put it in as Delvis. He laughed, but I know I am not the only one, because every time we go out people always come up and say "Hi Delvis".  Dennis was bestowed with the name Delvis by his friend Pete, because Dennis was born on Elvis's Birthday and he was born to rock. :)

"D" (my nickname for him...it makes it easier and  it covers all bases ;)) is one of the kindest human beings you will ever meet, and I am not saying that because I am biased, it just happens to be one of my most favorite qualities about him. He also is charming, funny, and a truly talented singer/songwriter/musician. I can say without a doubt that music fuels his soul. I have always loved music, but I have come to understand music on a whole different level once D and I started dating. Our living room is a music haven, it holds 6 guitars, a bass guitar, amps, LARGE speakers, a drum set, a speaker system for his ipod, a record player, a stereo system, and over a 1,000 records (if not more). Technically I should be a musician myself just by the "music fumes" from our living room ;)  Even though "D" is Dennis to me now, in my phone he will always be DELVIS!

So here it is the interview with my BF and the man who only really needs one name.....So let's rock!

S: What's the difference between Delvis/Dennis:

(long pause:))

D: The spelling ;)   Delvis is simply a cooler stage name than Dennis.  Delvis transformed me as an artist. I feel I became more of who I am from a creative, artistic standpoint once I was Delvis. It is hard to imagine a time when I wasn't Delvis, that is how much of an impact that it has had on my life.

S:What question would you like me to ask you, since I know most of the answers to the questions I want to ask you?

D: Do you think that Elvis is still alive?

S: Hahahaha! Ok, so do you think he is alive?


S: Who do you look up to as your own personal music icons?

D:  Ted Snyder, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan,Warren Zevon, The Beatles, The Stones, The Byrds and of course Elvis

S: If there is one song you wish you could have written which one would it be?

D: Hmmmmmm...I guess this may seem obvious, but Stairway


D: Because it starts off so soft, but then it rocks so hard in the end , I could use this as a metaphor about me, but I will keep this PG

S: Haha

S: You are both a singer and a songwriter do you prefer one over another?

D: For me they go hand and hand....equally together.

S: What is your favorite song you written?

D: They are all my favorites, they are all my babies!

S: How do you stay calm singing in front of large groups of people, it seems so scary to me, I get butterflies in my stomach when you perform ,and I am not even up there?

D: I feel more calm as the show goes on. I try to be as prepared as possible and that lessens the nerves.

S:When you make it big as a rockstar what will your demands be? ;)

D: I would have to demand that a record player must be in my dressing room at all times, as well as planters cheeseballs, and Uppercrust Pizza.

S: I wouldn't have expected you to say anything else ;)

S: "The Road is My Home" is the CD you just released, is their a reason why you picked that title?

D: I feel I picked that title, because I thought it represented the place I was at that time. I wrote it four years ago, and the song "The Road Is My Home" still rings true in my heart.

S: What inspires you when writing a song?

D: It's hard to say because inspiration pops up when you least expect it. I have actually thought up songs in dreams that I finish when I wake up. One time I had written a song from a phrase that someone wrote on a  bathroom stall.

S:What song is that and what was the phrase?

D: "Brown Eyes" and the phrase is "Brown Eyes Couldn't Stop Me From Loving You"

                   (Brown Eyes Video/  Music By Delvis /Lyrics By Delvis...and the bathroom stall)

S: I had no idea that is where that song came from, see I learned something new about you tonight!

S: Do you have any advice for singer/songwriters who are just starting out?

D: A good way to practice would be to sing at karaokes, and then start  performing at local open mics, because that is where you can start making connections with other musicians or people who book gigs. Singing in the subway can also be a confidence booster, if you can do that you can do anything...just be prepared for how hot/cold it can get in there!

S: Do you like being interviewed by your girlfriend?

D: Of course, any time spent with you is worthwhile.....even during the times when you yell at me for not doing the dishes ;)

S: Awwwwww thank you, you are so sweet....and yes you should wash your dishes after you used them ;)

S: Any last Comments you would like to share?

D: Here is a quote I wrote "If you don't stick your foot out, you ain't gonna trip anybody"

and on that note .....Delvis has just left the building......well the living room ;)

Delvis CD Release Party: Friday August 6, 2010 at the Pickled Onion in Beverly w/ the Rockin Band "The Willows"!
You can check out Delvis's
music at www.myspace.com/delvisrocks
and on Facebook: DELVIS

(photos and video by Sarah)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Person Can Make a Difference/ We Can All Make a Difference

I have known Brian Tronic for 5 1/2 years, but he is one of those guys you feel you have known your whole life. He is extremely smart, kind, and caring person. I feel very lucky to call him my friend.
I met Brian when we worked together at a learning center 5 1/2 years ago. We both have been teachers in our "past life" (Brian just graduated Law School). I was the Center Director of the learning center we worked at, and Brian was our most requested teacher (seriously some parents would only keep their kids enrolled at the center if Brian was their only tutor). Brian is brilliant! He can teach anything he wants, because he seems to have a true understanding for all things (I am not exaggerating at all,if you know him you would say the same), but Brian isn't just smart, his nature and persona makes him be able to teach the most difficult subject in the most basic way, so anyone can understand That is why he was such a requested teacher. Not only did Brian educate the kids of the North Shore area, he also did a two year teaching stint in Africa (2001-2003) when he joined the peace corps prior to me meeting him.

Africa! My dream destination, the one place in the world I feel I have to go to in my life...no matter what!  I was so fascinated by all of Brian Peace Corps stories, the adventures, the people, the experience. Brian was a math and physics teacher in the village of Kativani. He taught freshmen, sophomore, and junior classes that consisted of 40-60 children.  There were only only 4 classrooms in the school with one classroom per grade. I loved looking at the pictures, even the scary bug pic that completely freaked me out the first time I saw it (you can check that pic out on the "Sarah in the City" Facebook page under the "Blog Interviews" photo album). Come to find out after awhile that Brian started a non-profit organization for the kids in the village he taught in called the "Friends of Yumbuni'. I was so impressed to know that not only was my friend making a difference with the students he taught at our learning center, but he was changing children's lives across the world as well.

I really wanted to do this interview for two reasons  #1 His cause is truly a great one! Where a little can go a long way, and I feel more people should know about it  #2 He is someone from the North Shore who is doing fabulous things, and I wanted to share his story w/ you :)
We decide to do the interview at our favorite Restaurant "The Organic Garden" in Beverly (a raw food, vegetarian, and gluten free person dream restaurant # 978/922-0004  Organic Garden Cafe 294 Cabot St., Beverly, MA 01915)
We talked about his Foundation and his time in Africa while eating delicious food (best way to interview in my opinion). Brian as always came prepared with his photos from Africa (which he let me take a few pics of), and other info about his foundation, and I came w/ my list of questions. So here it is, my interview w/ Brian Tronic, the "Ultimate Teacher"!

S: What made you decide to join the Peace Corps?

B: I wanted to explore the world and have an adventure.....and I did!

S: Was Africa your first choice?

B: Actually I requested Nepal, but then I got a letter saying I was going to Kenya. I didn't know much about Africa, but I thought this should be fun and interesting, so I just went with it.

S: Where you scared about traveling so far away by yourself?  

B: Of course I was. I was afraid of the unknown, where will I be living, food, where would I be working, learning a new language and culture, trusting I will be able to find my way around a new place, being out of touch/communication with the people I rely on back home, and making new friends. The first few days I was very lonely in the village, and on the first night I actually got locked into my house (if you meet Brian you need to ask him about this story..it's a must hear!) My house consisted of a bed, no electricity, no bathroom (outhouse outside), no running water, and windows w/ metal bars. Once I got rescued from my house by two high school boys, figured out how to get around, and made some friends things started to get a lot better.

S: What inspired you to start this non-profit organization?

B: In my village their was a married couple who owned a restaurant that I went to daily. We would sit together and have tea, and they would teach me the local language Kikamba. They became my good friends. They had a son who worked at the restaurant who was in 8th grade. They wanted to send him to the school I taught at, but they could not afford it (no free High School, it's about $200 a year for a child to attend). After hearing this I spoke with my parents, and between myself and my parents we paid for Masila to go to High School. He was the first student I helped, and that is where it all began.  Unfortunately a year later I found out Masila parents both died, but Masila finished High School despite that happening. I actually just got an email from him yesterday saying that he now wants to go to a university, so he is the student we are now currently raising money for.

(Rough Cost to send a child from his village to a 2 year university is between $2,000-$3,000...I think I paid that in just text books for my own college education, and it actually could have been more)

S: How many children from Kativani that you have taught have gone on to college due to your program?

B: We have had one girl graduate with a business degree, and one boy graduate from a full on four year university. The boy was extremely bright, and it is very rare for someone to graduate from a 4 year university from the village I taught in.

S: What was your favorite experience during your time in Africa?

B: I really enjoyed teaching the kids. They had such a thirst for knowledge. They didn't even have text books, they really appreciated all the small things.  One day I brought a chess board to school, and played with a fellow teacher, the kids were fascinated by the game. At one point we had 80 plus kids surrounding us, and they were in awe. I went to Nairobi after that and bought 15 chessboards and started a chess club (about 1/2 the kids in the school joined) The advanced chess players started teaching the younger kids. We had tournaments at the end of every term, and the prize was their own chess board. They loved it!

S: Since you inspire me by all the great things you do to help others...what inspires you?

(long pause..;) )

B:People who follow their dreams. People who go and dare to live an exciting life, and not afraid to fail.  Many of these kids cannot get to school due to money, and they dream of an education, and I want to help people who make life work for them.
People helping others...showing true kindness...helping other people!

"Education for a Better Life."  
" Friends of Yumbuni, Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to helping
motivated high school students in Kenya attend colleges and
universities. 100% of our donations go directly to the students'
accounts at the colleges and universities in Kenya - our
administrative costs are covered by volunteers and the board of


(photos from Africa provided by Brian Tronic/ photos of Brian taken by Sarah)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And Away We Go......

One of my favorite things to do:  Travel

One of my favorite people to travel with:

Nicole and I have been friends since fourth grade and in that time we have had many adventures together. Trips to Paris, Italy, NYC, St. Martin, Anguilla, and California to name a few. My favorite trip w/ Nicole was our drive across the country in 1997 (I am almost positive Nicole would not agree w/ this..just due to my driving skills alone ;))..one month on the open road...we hit flash floods, tornadoes, dust devils, hospitals in Alabama, a $160 speeding ticket post tornado, but we also saw/and did amazing things, New Orleans, Grand Canyon, Arches,Bryce and Zion National Park, Las Vegas, The Turquoise Trail in New Mexico, Tattoo's in L.A....it may have been a crazy trip, but it still went smoothly, because Nicole is a travel expert.

Since I am a more fly by the seat of your pants woman, Nicole is my perfect travel balance. She makes the plans and I have fun w/ all the plans she makes ;) I wanted to write this post about Nicole and her travel business, because she and her mother Linda Freedman (the Founder of Villa Journeys) are the experts in travel, and seriously who doesn't like to travel. I have never had a bad trip w/ Nicole, because she is always prepared and can navigate any city or town. So sit back and relax and enjoy this ride.....
                  Nicole Freedman of  VILLA JOURNEYS,
                                            MARBLEHEAD, MA

S: What do you like about the travel business?

N: I get to travel!  Seriously, someone has to go inspect the
destinations and properties.  I also enjoy helping people find their
dream vacation.  I have helped plan weddings and family reunions.
These memories will be with these travelers for a long time.

S: I know you have traveled the world so where is your favorite place you have been and why? If you have  a tie you can put two..heehee ;)

N: People always ask me this question.  I cannot pick a favorite place.
I love to see the sights of Europe and also love to vedge out on the
beach with a good book.   I find that travel is all about moments and
experiences.  I will never forget waking up to a beautiful sunrise
outside my hotel room at the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.  I also
enjoyed sharing that sunrise with the elephant that climbed up the       
crater and was standing outside that window.  Oh, by the way, resist
the urge to walk down the crater a bit to the hotel bar.  There is a
reason they are not open at dusk and at night. There was also my
fabulous birthday celebration dinner looking out at the Eiffel Tower.
Oh, and people watching while at a cafe in Florence with a glass of
wine.  There have also been numerous sunsets on the balcony of the
Simpson Bay Condos in St. Martin.  Have so many more moments but those
are probably the top ones...

S: What makes your business special?                                                   

N: We provide a service for renting vacation homes throughout the
Caribbean and Europe.  Booking a vacation home is far different than a
hotel or resort.  You need to know so many more details and it's hard
to know who to trust.  Private owners can sometimes misrepresent
themselves and you have little recourse once they have taken your
payment.  We also know what questions to ask.  How far is the house
from the pool?  Important information when you have small children.
Does the house come with a cook?  If so how are meals and groceries
handled?  How far is the house from the beach.  Is the beach walking
distance, is it downhill (which can be a brutal walk back uphill after              
a beach day), is it rocks or sand (or a mix)?  Do the rooms all open
to the outside or do they open to the interior of the house?  Again, a
good question if you are bringing children.  Can you be seen at the
pool by neighbors?  Important for some religious people as well as
others that want privacy. We take the work out of this search.
Villa Journeys works with reputable destination based management
companies.  They are there for you if something goes wrong such has a power outage or flight delay.
We also have spent years exploring the destinations and properties.
We know how to match your vacation expectations,
and needs with the perfect home.

S: Where do you see the future in travel going?

N: I think it is leaning towards niche travel such as villas, adventure
and experience based travel.  People can book hotel packages online.
They need an agent to help them find the perfect home, safari,
exploration or set up a bike tour of vineyards in Italy.  Customers
need someone that is impartial (ie can book with any supplier) and is
knowledgeable about the destination.  While I love villa travel I also
look forward to possibly moving towards more adventure type travel.
It might be because I look forward to the site / supplier inspection

S: Where is one place you haven't been that you would like to go?                    

N: I want to go everywhere!  My motto is have passport, will travel just
about anywhere.  Been to 5 continents and still need to get to
Australia and Antarctica.  In the near future I hope to travel to
Spain as well as maybe charter a sailboat through the Greek Islands.
I also dream of seeing Bali ever since I read "Eat, Pray, Love".  I am
now reading "The Lost Girls" and finding new places to put on the
bucket list.

S: Can you divulge any famous people you have booked trips for?

N: Well, no one asked us to sign a confidentiality agreement, but I would
never divulge current celebs. In the past we have booked a house for
a band member from U2 as well as a band member from The Eagles.  It's been 10 years since those bookings so I hope that is OK.  We would never tell you specific details anyway.  Besides, both were very nice. There is nothing to even spill! 

S: What would you say are your most important travel tips?

N: I think it really helps to research your destination in advance.  This                
is especially true if it's a touring vacation rather than a plant
yourself on a beach vacation.  Plan out all the places you really have
to see and experience.  Once you get to your destination take it easy.
 You don't have to go by a schedule but just make sure you get to
those have to see or experience items.  I sometimes think I over plan
but then I have a basic idea of what I want to see.  I often rearrange
everything after I arrive.  I hate to sit around wasting time planning
while on vacation.  I would rather sit at a cafe and enjoy my
surroundings.  It is also a good idea to ask locals for their favorite                 
Another tip is to try not to over-pack.  Never bring more than you can
carry by yourself.  I have been guilty of this at times. Hey, I gotta
have the right shoe for each outfit right?  I think most of us find
that we have our favorite outfits and we end up wearing these more
than once.  Often I have a bag full of clothes that have not been
worn.  It's easy to find laundromats and no one will know if you wore
that same dress two nights earlier (except your travel companions).

Nicole Freedman is the co-owner of Villa Journeys; a family owned
travel agency specializing in vacation rentals.  Nicole caught the
travel bug at a young age.  Her parents both love to travel.  Her
father is from the U.K. and her mom is American.  Nicole’s parents met while traveling and living in Israel.  She has had many memorable family vacations including regular trips to the UK, Ocean City Maryland and St. Martin.  In college Nicole participated in Semester
at Sea which opened her eyes to new cultures and continents.   On Semester at Sea she stopped in the Bahamas, Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Since college she has backpacked through Europe, driven across the US as well as numerous other trips to Europe
and the Caribbean.                                                         

You can also find Villa Journeys on Facebook

***Pictures: 1.View from the balcony at Simpson Bay Condo 2. St Martin, Nicole and I at Simpson Bay Condo 2009 3.Joshua Tree National Park, CA "Family Picnic" 4. On the train from Paris to Venice 2006, 5.Nancy, Nicole, and I Paris 2006  6.Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania view from Nicole's hotel room in the crater 7.Nicole and I in the Map Room, The Vatican, Rome, 8.Salvador Brazil capoeira demonstration AxĂ© Project Band (project that helps the street children of Brazil)  9. Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa 10. View from Villa window, Florence Italy 11. Africa 12. "Attack of the Gladiator", Colosseum, Rome
13. Nicole on the Boat to Anguilla

Monday, July 5, 2010


(Video snapshot :)..I am getting so fancy..heehee)

So this is my 2nd year attending Witchstock (but first year attending on crutches).   Rock on!

"Witchstock was established in 2004. It is a FREE outdoor music festival held every 4th of July weekend at the Willows Park in beautiful Salem, Mass right on the water. This afternoon of peace, love, and music is a family event designed to showcase local, up and coming bands" (from the Witchstock FB page).
Witchstock was created by "The Legend Himself" Scott Herwig aka 8o's Man, who is also a great musician as well. Scott does it for the love of music and Salem. He really wants to showcase local talent and it is a truly perfect venue for that.

This year it was the 7th anniversary of Witchstock and you couldn't ask for a more perfect day for a music festival. In the 80's, warm but dry weather (so great hair day for all..yes I do find that important when I am outdoors all day ;) ) You had a beautiful ocean breeze and shade from the many trees at Salem Willows park, but you could also find many places to sit in the sun and take in the warmth of the day.  Salem Willows is a huge park and w/ the sound system you could truly be entertained in any area of the park whether you are waiting in line for their famous popcorn, buying and ice cream cone or chop suey, playing skeeball, or lying under a tree..the music was as clear as the sky was in the park that day.

The Line-Up of musicians this year was as follows:

Peter Mercier: A talented singer and songwriter from Salem. Who is a very poetic songwriter, but rocks out as well w/ very meaningful lyrics. You can check his music out at  www. myspace.com/petermercier


DELVIS: An entertainer of the truest form..has the showmanship and the talent to garner only one name! Delvis is also a songwriter /singer from Salem. You can check out his music at: Facebook or


Leaving Eden: A hard rock, alternative band, fronted by a female singer who had energy equal to the amount of all the people in the park  You can check out their music at: www.myspace.com/leavingedenband

The Wilton Dub: Is a funky jam band. A mixture of reggae, funk, and progressive rock. Nice Grooves for a warm summer's day. You can check them out at: http://thewiltondub.com/

The Willows: The Willows closed out the night at the willows w/ some truly great and tight rock sets led by their charismatic front man Courtney Linehan who got adults and children alike dancing on the grass. Check out their music at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/roots-run-deep/id341704733 or on Facebook

Hope to see you all there next year!!!