This past weekend I got travel to NYC to spend the weekend with my lovely and talented friend (I love you, Ily). I’ve been meaning to go to NYC in the summer since it seems like I only make my way when its below 30 degrees outside. I got into the city Friday and we started our night by going to Sofritos. The view was amazing, the food was so delicious and we couldn’t stop dancing in our seats with the Dj spinning everything from hip hop to soca to bachata. That’s the beautiful thing about NYC, there’s so much diversity that it makes me feel no matter where we went the diversity is everywhere that it makes me feel at home.
On Saturday, my friend wanted to take me to a coffee shop she thought I’d love…and man was she right! We went to Devoción in Brooklyn which made me feel that’s right where we belonged. I ordered both a cappuccino and a macchiato and both were simple perfection. The vibe was awesome, lots of sunshine, a beautiful wall filled with plants and that good smell of Colombian coffee left me mesmerized.
My friend is a very talented and beautiful young lady. She is one of my favorite photographers and she has an eye for a good pic. She brought her camera and took some shots while we were in the café that I had to share with you all. Also, look at her work here, she’s a dope photographer that’s just as beautiful in person.
Take a look at my weekend recap in pics below:
If you’re wondering, I tagged both the hat and dress I wore that are both from my favorite store aka Free People. I have been my absolutely obsessed with hats recently and this one definitely bumped up to my favorite right now.
Last weekend was definitely a much needed weekend. I am really looking forward to relaxing and catching up on decorating my new place this weekend and telling you guys about it later. Whatever you guys do this weekend, just make sure to take some time for yourself and unwind. Finding time for yourself between work and life can sometimes be tough, but don’t forget, you deserve it.
Look at this pic of Drake and I below…he wanted me to take the pic. 😉
So, last year when I won the Virgin Islands Nice video challenge a video crew filmed our whole stay! I feel super blessed to have this memory and since I got to go on this vacation because of everyone that voted, I thought it’s only right if I shared the video with everyone too. I must admit, I’ve had this video for a couple of months but had it on private on YouTube but finally decided to make it public. I am super critical about myself which is why I had it on private (I am also camera shy) but hey, it was SUCH a great and memorable experience that I just had to share!
It’s kinda long, so grab some popcorn and a drink (rum preferred) and enjoy. Also, if you’re thinking of taking a vacation soon…think VIRGIN ISLANDS and reach out to me so I can send you my personal list of musts!
On Wednesday, we decided we were going to arrange our trip to Nine Mile to see the place that Bob Marley called home. The drive was about 3 hours and we got to see so many towns with vibrant colors and vibrant people along the way. I’ll fast forward to approaching the Bob Marley Museum…I was in a state of shock and awe. There was a band playing as we waited for our tour guide and I couldn’t help but wish I could sing with them. Not surprisingly our new friend, Veejay, knew just about everyone there and of course went to ask them if I could sing with them. I didn’t even think twice, I grabbed the mic together with my new Rasta friend and we sang Redemption Song, one of my favorite songs of all time.
A video posted by Joyce Cristine⇢ (@gypsyjoycee) on Aug 1, 2016 at 7:39pm PDT
The tour hadn’t even began and I felt like I was being transported to a different time and space, particularly somewhere near Robert Nesta Marley’s soul. We toured his bedroom, as well as he and his mother’s resting place. It was surreal. The flowers, the colors, the love that exists in that place isn’t comparable to anything I have ever experienced. The fun didn’t stop there, as I said my “see ya laters” (because I knew I would be back again) to Bob Marley’s home, we began to get ready to go to Dunn’s River Fall. We were ready to hike along the famous waterfall. Once we changed into our bathing suits, we held hands and began our hike towards the top of the waterfall. It. Was. Incredible.
Bob Marley’s bed
My beautiful cousin and I
Will never forget my rasta friend who allowed me to sing with him ❤
My Goodbyes and Reflection
Thinking back on this trip, I just can’t quite describe in words how perfect it was. How truly amazing the people were. How in the midst of much poverty and sometimes even desperation, the beauty of every soul we met resonated with me. I grew an even deeper appreciation for Dancehall and reggae and I didn’t think that would even be possible. Oh, and for the record, Jamaicans can DANCE. Let me reiterate that, dancehall isn’t just a genre, it’s more of a lifestyle. During our last night in Jamaica we went to a club and it was the perfect ending. I felt I was in some version of “So You Think You Can Dance” but Jamaican style. All the guys just got in a line and did their thang! My girls and I tried our best to match their step and embrace our latin hip action with some Jamaican flair. It was all pure laughs and joy.
Our Last Night Out..SO much fun!
The Jungle was the place to be.
Once we left, “yah mon” was part of my daily vocabulary and my girls and I couldn’t stop using all the slang and patois we learned in our time in Jamaica. There was no longer such a thing as drinking coca cola without rum in it. I lost complete track of time in Jamaica and it was one of the best feelings I’ve encountered this year. I had time to myself and I got to spend time with my girlfriends. This trip also made me more aware of how energies are transmitted. I truly believe the energy we put out to this world, is in return the energy we receive. I really felt as though the people we met during this trip could truly feel our energy and vice versa. So wherever you may be reading this post, I hope you can feel the great vibes I am sending your way and that you may also transmit those vibes to whoever you encounter.
Before leaving, everyone kept asking, “Will you be coming back to Jamaica?” My response: Yah Mon, no doubt about it.
As I sit here trying to wrap my head around the past couple weeks/months, I don’t know where to begin and where to end. I have been in a state of bliss and awe that has made me so grateful for life. My birthday was back in April and I got to ring it in with my family and friends that I love so much. I only felt positive energy and great vibes that week and I knew it would only continue as I prepared for my trip to Jamaica that weekend. This trip to me was everything. There is something so special about the Caribbean that I can’t quite put into words. I know that the more I travel and explore, the more I fall in love with our earth and the beauty of its people. From the beginning, I knew this was going to be an unforgettable trip for the sole purpose that Jamaica was once the home to none other than Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s music in my life has not only been a vessel for mindfulness, love and energy, but it has also given me the power to make me feel like every little thing is going to be alright. I could go on and on speaking about how it has personally affected me but for the sake of this blog post, let’s take a dive into my trip.
*In efforts to condense my trip into two blog posts, I’ll show you guys pictures and highlights of our trip throughout both posts.*
We arrived on Sunday at 9:45am, as soon as we arrived we were surrounded by sun and smiles. We automatically became friends with our driver and anyone that we came in contact with. We were staying in Negril so the drive let us see some of the views and different towns. We stayed at Legends resort in Negril and it was absolutely amazing! The people that work there all do their job with such love that it was impossible to frown.
As we laid on the beach we met a couple of locals that would help make our trip truly unforgettable and help us to get a taste of the real Jamaica. As we planned out our days, we also had an open mind and were happy to simply go with the flow. Maybe the island soul in all of us knew that whatever we did, we would enjoy every second of it.
Our first pics in Negril 🙂
Water tubing: This experience was too much to put into words. From one of my cousins yelling “go faster, go faster” to me grabbing on for my dear life it was an experience we all wouldn’t forget.
We heard so much about the world famous Rick’s café so we decided to make a trip out of it. We hopped on a catamaran and had such an AMAZING time on the boat. It wouldn’t have been a party if we didn’t make friends with everyone we met! We met two girls that were visiting Jamaica from NYC and quickly become friends with the boat’s crew members. Rick’s is also known for its cliff jumping and although I didn’t partake in jumping off (#NoRegrets) my girls did and watching them was enough of a great experience. Even though Rick’s was really popular, it was very “touristy”.
When I travel I love to have a taste of the island from locals mixed in with some touristy experiences, too. When we befriended the crew members, we told them the café was cool, BUT, we would really like to see the local neighborhood. They immediately smiled and off we went. Fish and Red Stripe beer was what we had. And the fish was devoured in about 5 seconds because it was THAT good. We walked and chilled until it was time to get back on the catamaran and head back to Negril. What a joyous time! Just imagine, open bar on a boat in Jamaica, with the contagious beats of dancehall playing in the background. How could you even describe that feeling in a word? I really don’t know. 😉
Best local experience
Our Catamaran arriving
on the boat!
With the girls 🙂
the infamous Ricks Cafe
Every night we got to taste local foods whether it was the stands of jerk chicken or local restaurants to get some red snapper (my absolute favorite!). In my eyes, one of the best parts of traveling is tasting all different types of food. Yum!
Have you ever decided hours before a departing flight to just hop on and go?
I had always wanted to do something crazy and spontaneous but a lot of the times I found myself either playing it safe or just talking myself out of it. A lot of times when confronted with making a decisions, our brains automatically go to the negatives or the uncertainties. Where am I going to stay? How am I going to get around? What if its not as fun as I think it will be? Thinking is such a daunting task sometimes that drains us mentally and even physically at times. This year, I am trying a lot of new things and one of them is to not dwell on thoughts that only exist in my mind and to do the things that make me happy. In living a more conscious life, I am learning how to really get rid of a lot of emotions that don’t add anything positive to my life.
I consider myself to be a free-spirit with a wild heart. I have a gypsy soul that has taken me to a lot of amazing places and rebel that fights for what she believes in. All of these emotions exacerbated over the weekend where I told myself, if I really am a gypsy soul, what was stopping me from buying a ticket to Miami? When I answered my own question I thought to myself, I have no kids, no pets, yet why was I being held back? Only my thoughts and myself were truly holding me back so as soon as that thought crossed my mind, I went ahead and paid for my ticket and had the time of my life. I didn’t complain once. There were no concrete “plans” and there weren’t any expectations except great and positive ones. I got to go to 9 Mile Music festival which is what sparked this whole trip and experienced a bliss I hadn’t experienced before. I felt like Bob Marley was among the crowd and that he was smiling as we all sang alongside with his sons.
It was an experience I will always remember and do again. Like always below are just a few pictures of last weekend.
My advice to anyone that is thinking about taking a spontaneous trip is to just do it. If that is you in the near future just keep this in mind, live in the present and don’t let anything hold you back from what you want to do. 🙂
It was the first of December and what better way to bring in the first day of the last month of the year than to spend it on the beautiful island of St. Croix. As we waited for our seaplane to arrive, I was most excited to see my family’s face as we took off and landed on the seaplane. The views you get of both St. Thomas and St. Croix always mesmerize me. It reminds me of such beauty that is around us. St. Croix is the bigger island of the three and I felt as though we needed another week to really explore such beauty. We got off the seaplane and were greeted by our amazing drivers while on St. Croix.
View of St Thomas
Arriving on St. Croix
My awesome drivers!
We headed to the shops in downtown Christiansted and as we walked around, I couldn’t help but appreciate the beautiful architecture that exists on the island of St. Croix. I loved seeing the vibrant colors as we walked around going into the lovely shops and boutiques. I have an extreme weakness for jewelry. I love accessorizing and if I find a brand with meaning attached to it, I instantly fall in love. That’s what happened when I walked into Crucian Gold and saw a ring and bracelet that had the infamous Crucian knot. After I made my purchases, I met up with a darling friend, Dora. As we walked around Christiansted, she gave us different suggestions on the best places to visit and we immediately agreed that one day on St. Croix simply wasn’t enough. I told her I’d definitely have to come back to truly experience all the amazing things St. Croix has to offer.
After we shopped, our drivers took us to Rainbow beach so that we could enjoy the view and enjoy a wonderful meal too and right they were. Although partly cloudy, we enjoyed the beach and our scrumptious lunch. After lunch and some swimming, we had to head back to catch our seaplane back to St. Thomas, so sadly we had to say our goodbyes to Santa Cruz. It was hard to believe at that point that it was going to be our last dinner on the island. Although bittersweet, we headed out to a restaurant super close to our villa, Mahogany Grill to enjoy more deliciousness.
After dinner, it was time to pack our belongings and take in the views from our balcony at night one last time. I can’t begin to tell you all how simply seeing the moon so big and so bright made me so grateful for this trip and the blessings I have received this past year. As we set our alarms for the next day, I knew saying goodbye to such a beautiful island was going to be harder than I imagined.
On Monday, we woke up to the sun shining and we were ready to explore St. John! We got ready, hopped on a ferry and began to get a glimpse of Love city. Our first stop was to get some smoothies and coconuts over at Our Market Smoothies! Thomas (who is also the owner) greeted us and made us the best smoothies ever. When he opened our coconuts, he asked if we wanted some Cruzan rum in them and all I could think of was what a genius idea! My brother and I had some pineapple Cruzan rum in our coconuts and it was delicious! After indulging in the best smoothies you could possibly get on St. John, we headed to Cruz Bay. When we approached the beach, everyone was speechless. The clear blue waters, the white sand…was breathtaking.
In a view as amazing as the one we were experiencing, pictures were a must. You can check them out below:
Thomas in St. John!
On our way to the beach!
St. John with the girls!
Free as a bird!
Clear waters and beautiful smiles.
My mommy and I
Canika and my mother!
Kizzy and I ❤
You know the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun”? Well, I felt like time was going a little too fast for my liking. No one wanted to leave the beach, but we had to catch the ferry in order to be right on time for our dinner. As we said bye to the beautiful island of St. John, we all left mesmerized by such beautiful beaches and views. We got home and began getting ready for dinner which would be at the Oceania Restaurant. As we arrived, we heard the splashes of the waves behind us and again, we were about to have dinner amongst a beautiful view, exceptional service and even more delicious food! During my dinner I got to formally meet the much loved and respected reggae artist, Pressure Busspipe. Alongside with him were others from the VI Department of Tourism that had helped me make my stay unforgettable! I met Kizzy and spoke to Canika John who I had been in contact with since winning the challenge and of course Emmett, who was the amazing videographer and photographer during my trip (yes I’m also very excited to see this footage).
To start off, we ordered some wine and the conversations just began to flow so effortlessly after that. If there is one thing I simply love about the Virgin Islands is the spirit of the people. I’m all about positive vibes and I loved being around such great energy. Naturally, Pressure and I started talking about music and of course we completely bonded over an artist that is a huge inspiration to both of us, Bob Marley. Pressure then told me that if the Peace Concert hadn’t been cancelled due to the rain, he was going to call me on stage to perform with him. I told him I would’ve loved that! We continued speaking about music and he asked me why wasn’t I pursuing music…such a simple yet profound question. I told him that I’d begin to focus on it more in 2016 and that the beginning was publishing that video for his song “Virgin Islands Nice”. Music has always been my passion. It’s what gets me through the toughest times and inspires me. The conversations I got to share with Pressure and the representatives of the Dept of Tourism that night made the whole trip priceless. You can’t place a price on inspiration.
P.S. because I love fashion if you’re wondering where I got my dress, I ordered it online at one of my favorite stores, Free People.
We arrived in St. Thomas around 3pm after experiencing a short delay on our flight. As soon as I got a glimpse of St. Thomas through the airplane window, I started experiencing all sorts of butterflies in my stomach. I quickly pointed to the island we’d be staying on to my mother and her eyes just opened with excitement. This would be her first experience in the Caribbean and I was so happy that I had her by my side on this unforgettable experience. My brother, his girlfriend, and my best friend were already at the airport, and before I knew it, I was being greeted at the airport with some music and dance! I quickly ran to hug my family and friends and like one would during any great island welcome, had some Cruzan rum shots! At that point I was trying to get acclimated with the beautiful 85 degree weather since that morning I had woken up to 30 degree DC weather.
I then met some of the people that would make my stay truly incredible. I was greeted by James Dowe from Island Tours VI, who would not only serve as THE BEST driver, but a great tour guide as we travelled around the island. On our ride in the van to Wild Ginger Villa, the beautiful villa that would become our home for the next six days, we pointed to the beautiful houses, the clear water, and of course the nature that surrounded us.
Arriving at the airport & Running in to Pressure
James and I
When we got to the villa, we each had a moment of “Is this really happening?” The villa overlooked the ocean—to our left and right we could see Hans Lollick Island as well as the surrounding islands (BVI and St. John). In the midst of all this excitement we realized we were extremely hungry and quickly got ready for dinner. We decided to go to Mafolies for our first dinner on the island, and it was a great first choice. Now, I’m a self-proclaimed foodie, so naturally I couldn’t wait to begin to get a taste of the Virgin Islands. The dish I ordered was one of the night’s special, and it was to die for. As I looked around to see what everyone else had ordered everything looked DELICIOUS. I took a quick picture of my plate before completely devouring it. It was so good! The drinks, the appetizers, the view, it was all perfection. After that meal, we ended calling it an early night. Between traveling, the views, the food… we all needed to get a good night’s rest for what lay ahead!
Lobster, shrimp, veggies SO good
On Saturday, I woke up both in confusion and awe. I opened the curtains from the master bedroom and saw, once again, the beautiful ocean. My best friend and I went to brew some coffee and sat on the porch to let the view sink in. Even though the skies were looking kind of cloudy, we had our plans set for the day. Lunch at Glady’s Café followed by Ziplining, then dinner and of course the USVI Peace Concert at night. After soaking in the morning view, we all got ready to have another delicious meal. As always, James was right on time making sure we made it to our destination and showed us the way to Glady’s café. We went through such a beautiful alley to get to the café that I found myself trying to pictures of the doors, for goodness sake! We reached the café and got seated by our wonderful server, Pauline. I don’t know if it was her warm smile or if it was her attentiveness to what we cared for, but she made our lunch a continuation of experiencing some island love. I had the jerk mahi mahi sandwich that was as scrumptious as it sounds. My brother ordered a fruit plate to begin with and of course, we all dug in to that. The papaya and mango, which were all locally grown had us wishing that the moment would never end. It was the perfect meal to have before experiencing something I had always wanted to try: ziplining!
Alley leading to Glady’s Cafe
#Selfie before lunch
Best server, ever! Thanks Pauline.
We got to Tree Limin Extreme where my best friend and I were to experience our first Zip Lining experience! I have to admit, I’ve always been scared of heights. I’m not much of a roller coaster type of gal. I’ve always preferred to watch my friends, instead of giving myself anxiety while partaking in such activities, and although I was nervous I really wanted to zip line and see the island from views up top. There were six courses and I decided to go right before my friend so that I wasn’t alone as I jumped off. Once I took the first jump, I felt invincible. When I landed on the first course, I was hooked (literally and figuratively)! I couldn’t wait to jump off the rest! It was such an incredible experience and our tour guides were truly amazing. Bianca, our instructor, and the gentleman who assisted her did an incredible job making us feel safe and making sure we enjoyed every course. Bianca would tell us some jokes and also provided some accompanying music. Around course #3, the skies started to get dark and we started experiencing some rain. It slowly began to pour and to be honest…it was the best time. I’ve always had this weird wish to dance in the rain and I felt like this was life’s way of granting me that wish. We really made the best of the weather, and I was so happy I got to go on my first zip lining experience in St. Thomas!
Geared up for Zip Lining!
Arriving to Tree Limin!
Because of the rain, we continuously checked to see if the concert was still going to happen. By 5:00pm, we had not been notified of any cancellation, so we got ready to go to dinner before the concert. We were near the water at Fat Turtle In Yacht Haven, but the rain didn’t stop. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner but soon after our meal we were informed that the peace concert had indeed been cancelled and would have to be postponed due to the rain. My bestie Brittany who’s from St Thomas, told us they hadn’t seen this much a rain in a while. So, although I was very sad I wouldn’t get to see Pressure or Rock City perform (gahhh huge fan), we were still happy and grateful to be in the Virgin Islands for this experience. So we finished our meal and had a few more drinks and headed back to our amazing villa.
Mommy and I!
Rachel and I
Dinner at Fat Turtle!
After what seemed to be a stormy Saturday came some Sunday sunshine! We woke up on Sunday to a rainbow and it felt like something out of a movie.
The weather called for some more rain that evening, so we decided it would be a good day to do some shopping and drive around the island. This day is best represented by all the pictures we took. We took selfies on the way to Iggie’s Beach Bar, where we had an amazing lunch. What a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Do you see Iggie the Iguana?
My lovely friends.
Mommy smelling the beautiful flowers at our villa.
On di Road 😉
Posing before a day of shopping!
Brittanie and Mommy!
Papayas for breakfast!
Chillin’ in the Villa!
No matter the weather the view was amazing
My brother relaxing on the beach. 🙂
Lunch at Iggies Beach bar!
Stay tuned for my next two posts where I’ll talk about my trip to St. John and dinner with Pressure as well as my adventures on St. Croix! Xo