I believe most people’s biggest failure in life is not by doing something but by doing NOTHING! Why is it that we would rather stay in a rut to the point of being unhappy rather than getting uncomfortable?! My greatest thrills in life have happened when I was most unsure of my next step. I decided a long time ago that whenever I came to the point where I was thinking about a change, I would GO FOR IT!! I knew taking that step would at the very least, make me proud of myself for trying. Last year my husband and I were in the Bahamas and the resort we stayed at had trapeze lessons. (Hellloooo Carrie Bradshaw!!) I am absolutely terrified of heights, but I saw an opportunity and I didn’t want to pass it up. I even climbed to the top where you grab the trapeze bar and told the guy “I’m sorry, I don’t think I want to do this” as my legs were shaking on the ledge. I remember him shaking his head like he was thinking “this stupid girl is such a waste of my time.” It was then that I thought to myself- I am going to be way more upset by not doing anything than taking action…and then, I JUMPED!! In fact, I went up two more times until I mastered the flip off of the swing that was their trick for the day. People were watching and cheering, but the greatest feeling came from the inside where I was cheering on myself. Sometimes to make a big change in life, you have to start with the smaller things, one step at a time. I continued this trend on our last trip to Jamaica where I jumped off a cliff at Rick’s café in Negril. It wasn’t the insane tallest cliff there, BUT it was a huge leap for me and just as big of a step. I hope to always challenge and push myself into greater things. Life is too short to sit it out on the sidelines! Is there something you have been dreaming about trying?? This is your time to STOP dreaming and START DOING!!
It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years since Katrina did its damage to New Orleans. I can remember at the time, while living in Tennessee, that there were people coming to my hometown in hopes of rebuilding their lives. I was old enough to know the devastation Katrina had caused, but too young to appreciate the longevity of the damage in so many Louisianan families. When I had once asked an owner of a new creole food café why they came so far to resettle, they simply answered that they couldn’t remotely bare another hurricane in their lifetime and still have something to live for. They had lost their homes, their family members, even their life structure of simplicities like finding groceries, because that was gone too. I think when you are not in a situation yourself you can assume people can easily build another house and buy more stuff, but what about the things that you cannot replace? What about the things that are not things at all, but the very normal surroundings that create your culture, your existence, your HOME. That is the loss that so many continue to endure to this day in New Orleans. Most recently I was also told about certain areas that until this year, patients were still receiving medical care out of FEMA trailers. Not new trailers, I am talking about the same ones that have been there since Katrina. They were just now (2105) able to build a new brick and mortar building for these patients to go to. The revitalization process is slow going, but there are several exciting things starting to take place! There is…the Return of the Orpheum Theatre…
Among other things that were displaced by Katrina, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra was one of them. Their home at the Orpheum was destroyed and many musicians left to find work elsewhere. Fast forward to the grand re-opening of the Orpheum on September 19th, 2015. When I first entered the building, I had a sense of awe as I looked at the bright blue coloring with even the tiniest details of white and gold accents. I spoke with random strangers in line who were also giddy for the opening. Some had traveled from faraway places like Michigan, just to see the LSO take its rightful place back at its home, the Orpheum. I was seated in the front row of the balcony called the dress circle. It was the perfect seat for seeing and hearing absolutely everything. The fitting choice of music for the night, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection.’ I watched as the 70-member orchestra took their seats and the maestro took his stand. I cannot remember a quieter moment in such a large group of people. It was as if everyone was holding their breath in anticipation for the first note. You could feel the electricity in the air. The awe, the music, the soloists, the grand return was both ethereal and intoxicating. You could read the tears on others faces and the performers alike, this is what a revival feels like. This is what people coming together who love the universal language of music feels like. It engulfs your mind, grabs your heart, and speaks to your soul. THIS was the return of the great Orpheum Theatre in New Orleans.
Dress: Alice + Olivia/ Shoes: BCBGirls
Picture Credit of Damaged Orpheum theatre: Clio Associates LLC
If there is anything I have noticed about the islands in the Caribbean, they all seem to have their own distinct culture and personalities. Over the years, as my hubby and I travel, we have experienced several places and have loved them all. St. Lucia is where we had our honeymoon and they have the Piton Mountains with black sandy beaches. Next we went to the Dominican Republic which has the bluest water and really great food. Last year was the Bahamas and we came to realize something, we really feel most at home at a smaller resort. While Atlantis was really cool and like living the life of a commercial on TV, it was massive and somewhat impersonal. It would take literally 45 minutes to walk to food, the pool, or from place to place. There is just something about going to a resort where the staff knows your name, and you don’t have to walk three miles to get your food and water. (This is a vacation right?! Not trying to work so hard for my food. :-)) So, enter our decision to go to Jamaica this year! Every year we try to go to a foreign country to celebrate our anniversary and we try to go to a new place we haven’t been. We had actually looked at Jamaica for our honeymoon but decided not to, so it was still a place we had heard great things about. Also, because I am a student again, we needed paradise on a budget! This place seemed to have it all for us. Just a breakdown of places most people go, Kingston is the busy capital with a very city like feel. Ocho Rios is the major tourist area with all the Dolphin tours, zip lines, etc. they have at almost all travel destinations these days. Montego Bay has the “Hip Strip” where you can go shopping and Negril has some of the softest white sand I have ever felt on my feet! Negril is also close to “Rick’s Café” where there are cliff divers and caves you can swim through.
I loved our choice of Montego Bay as it was a quiet, peaceful spot for relaxing. We stayed at the “SeaGarden Beach Resort” and it was the perfect fit for us! When you walk in, they have beautiful stained glass, billowy walkways and a super nice staff, including our favorite Bell hop- Peter. They gave us a room with an amazing view of Montego Bay itself and we were able to watch many a sunset on our own private balcony. Another fun thing about a smaller resort is you get to know other people and make friends. Before we knew it, T-Rex (Terrence) had us line dancing and playing Bingo. They had different acts or entertainment every night. I would say the highlight for me was the Reggae band that performed our last night there in honor of Emancipation Day. The private beach was also one of my favorite things about the resort. You walk escorted across the street and they set up whatever seat you want with a cushion (they let you pick and even move their chairs!) and give you a beach towel as well. The water was crystal clear blue and the sand was super clean and soft. The waves would just roll in and let you soak up the sun all day. I found myself completely relaxed and feeling at home. The resort is privately owned by a Jamaican family and Jeanna was especially nice and made sure our visit was special! My pictures were taken at the private beach and around the resort. Feel free to email me with any questions! I look forward to seeing the beautiful beaches of Jamaica again Mon!! xoxo, Brooke
Dress from Zulily//Shoes, Hat, and Swimsuit by Target//Lipstick – Bite Cosmetics in Zinfandel