Let’s pick up where we left off…
Hi, Freaks! In my last blog, I revealed some good news to the readers of The Daily Feels…approximately six weeks ago, I made this bold declaration:
“Today, I am exploding with some great news! My partner/Uncle and I are launching a vacation rental business to purchase my dream beach house in Wildwood, NJ, called Casa Di Amici (House of Friends). I am electrified by the concept of sensory and experiential design. Our plan is to ignite all five senses of our guests with every detail so they leave wanting more and come back to us year after year. I am so excited to share this new chapter of my freaky life with you all! COMING SOON!”
Today, I sit writing this blog in the owner’s bedroom on a desk that we purchased in a room I designed in a house that I can only describe as magical.
And it got me thinking…how the hell did this happen?
There was a time at the tender age of 19 when my father told me, “You’ll never amount to anything!” Right before he kicked me out of the house for dating a biker, he hated.
When I reflect upon those words, they don’t hurt anymore because I no longer believe him. Yet, there was a time when my biggest dream was to get a job, any job, and get out of my parent’s apartment. I didn’t care what or where just GET OUT!
This is now the fourth house I’ve owned and renovated. My dreams keep getting fulfilled, which then opens the door for new ones. I wasn’t brave enough to imagine living a life this big. Even my wildest dreams couldn’t conceive of all I’ve accomplished in 47 years,
There is a saying a friend shared recently that struck home, “when you can tell your story without crying, then you know you’ve healed.” As I share this story, not one tear is shed.
This begs the question, are we a product of our nature or nurture, which is stronger? As you all know, this has been the premise behind my blog since day one. The process of unraveling years of abuse and then self-abuse to try and answer the question, “how the hell did this happen to me? How did I succeed despite the odds against me? What drove me to achieve in my career and in life?”
Then it strikes like a bolt of lightning; failure is the foundation upon which I built success. Like the time I was kicked out of my house or dropped out of college, or got a divorce. Those were the significant failures, but throughout my life, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of missteps and mistakes along the way. It was my ability to fail, learn, and pivot that kept me striving for better. Sometimes to the point of exhaustion, even breakdown.
They were the most brutal lessons but also the most fruitful as I regularly turn shit into gold. Apparently it’s a gift. But since I didn’t own this truth nor felt confidence, I sabotaged my journey often.
However, in a twist of fate, many of my fears, inhibitions, and negative self-talk simply disintegrated throughout buying and designing this house, and building this business.
I had so many underlying fears, fear of taking the financial risk to buy a second home, fear of being an entrepreneur even after 25 years of marketing for some of the biggest brands in the world. I convinced myself that I simply couldn’t translate my abilities as an “intrapreneur” (an entrepreneurial spirit applied to a large company with minimal personal risk) to an entrepreneur.
And then I stopped thinking and starting trusting. With the purchase of this home, I fulfilled a destiny I didn’t realize was in the stars. As the pieces of my life puzzle come together as each year passes, the picture gets more evident, and my capacity grows. It is exponential.
One of the best lessons I’ve learned is that my creativity has no bounds. This was a revelation, an epiphany of epic proportions. I’ve never self-identified as an artist and creator until I was identified as such. It’s interesting because I’ve been told who I am and what I can do throughout my life but never thought to define it myself. Didn’t embody the self-worth or trust in my abilities to own who I was or who I wanted to be.
And it wasn’t until one day, when following a successful client event that I produced, my co-worker turned to me and said these life-changing words, “Chris, you are an artist!”
My heart pounded, and my head buzzed with the elation of simply being seen. To finally have someone recognize and acknowledge who I am, as I never believed it myself. He went on to say that my ability to dimensionalize the human experience and speak to every person’s senses, wants, and needs is an art form.
Talk about the best compliment of my life! However, I still didn’t believe it. The power of the negative was far more forceful and believable than positive.
Call it age, experience, or simply not willing to allow my life to be controlled by others (to say fuck it), everything has changed. I’ve transformed. My world has opened in technicolor, the potential for creativity exponential. I am flowing within it all and allowing it to surface in ways I’m still exploring.
And when you live your truth, the universal gifts abound. Recently, a co-worker shared an incredible list that he discovered while going through boxes at his Mom’s condo. His mom sadly passed last year, and he was spending time in Miami through quarantine. While going through some old boxes, he came upon this inspiring list called “Pointers for acquiring the BOLD Thinking habit”; author unknown.
He shared it with me upon his discovery because he said it reminded him of my approach to my career and life.
I was so moved. Touched. Humbled. As I read the list, I felt seen.
A particular line struck home, “Convert Your Wasted Hours to Gold, Fortune Favors the Bold.”
Wow, just wow!
I’ve converted my wasted hours to gold. Renovating this house hasn’t felt like work even after an 18-hour day Regardless of the weekend sacrifices, it has been fulfilling and enlightening on every level. Waste not, want not.
We even beat our timeline by a week due to the incredible partners in my life, Mr. Pizza and Uncle Jeff. Pizza has stood by my side through this process every single step of the way. While he’s not an investor or owner of the house, you would never know it! He insists on pushing himself to the outer limits to help make this dream a reality and a smash hit!
While many people have vacation rentals, millions in fact, my approach was very much about building a million-dollar business, not a “per night rental” house. Our goal is to make this initial vacation rental business into an experiential vacation empire.
During the buying, renovating and branding process, I played many roles: negotiator, interior designer, obsessed shopper, mover, furniture designer, brand builder, web designer, communications lead, talent agent and curator, PR, social media developer, copywriter, media buyer, laundress, furniture builder and the list goes on…
What I learned really quickly is that when you build your own business, there is no, “that is not in my job description.”
Along the way, I’ve had many teachers and so many people to thank. Those who introduced me to friends who are in the rental business to those family and friends who got their hands dirty with us. Most of all, to my Pizza, who is my best friend, a partner in crime, cheerleader, all-around road dog, my ride-or-die husband-to-be.
“Casa di Amici is a beautifully appointed historic, charming Victorian home featuring 8-bedrooms, 4-full bathrooms, 4,200 square feet on a large 100 x 120 lot in Wildwood, NJ.
This rare Victorian 19th century Second Empire home is a spectacular, one-of-a-kind property! The original house was built in 1879 for The Titus Family of Pennsylvania and was known as The Woodlawn. Later, the quaint mansard cottage expanded into a grand estate with a pointed tower, neoclassical bracketing, and bay windows.
We are making Casa di Amici available as a vacation rental for the first time in its 142-year history. We hope that your family and friends find the magic within its walls and make memories to last a lifetime.”
And this is just the beginning. Since listing on VRBO this past Monday, we’ve already booked up six weeks of the Summer, with hopefully many more to come. We plan to rent year-round for all those big and little holidays and occasions that are made of the moments that define us as they did for me. Being away on vacation with my family, living in the same house, embody the best times of my life.
This home has given us great joy (and often a lot of aggravation). Still, it’s thrilling to think about the people that will enter the front door and feel the love we’ve put into every inch of this house.
Please allow me to introduce Casa di Amici; Our Casa is Your Casa! This is just a taste, so if you want to see more and get a sense of all the upgrades and special packages, check out our website and follow us on Social!
· Website: www.casadiamici143.com
· FB: @CasadiAmici143
· Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· VRBO Listing: https://www.vrbo.com/2202203
Cherry Maggiore is the proud mom of her 11-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka MSP – Miss Sassy Pants), two-year old furry daughter, Bella and soon-to-be betrothed to Mr. Pizza. She’s spent the past 25 years as an award-winning senior marketing executive at a major media company.
Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company, Cherry Home Designs LLC, after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.
This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.