Ludacris + Eudoxie at Jade Mountain Resort in St. Lucia: 5 Things YOU Should Know

Anse Chastanet Beach near Jade Mountain Resort in Soufriere, St. Lucia

Anse Chastanet Beach near Jade Mountain Resort in Soufriere, St. Lucia

If my husband and I had the same means as Ludacris and Eudoxie our bae-cations would be just as spectacular (annnnd probably more frequent). Don't get me wrong; they already are fantabulous, but clearly on a different level. We do the best with what we have and we do it well, might I add. However, that next-level type of life would be nice too... I'm talking about private jets and private islands to match. 

I think they may be my favorite couple. Both seem so down-to-earth; they're definitely friends in my head. 

I think they may be my favorite couple. Both seem so down-to-earth; they're definitely friends in my head. 

I love when these two go on vacation though. I think they need to create an Instagram page just for their trips. A dedication to black love and traveling abroad. This time around, they're in St. Lucia (my husband's home and also where we wed) at the stunning Jade Mountain Resort. I REALLY wanted to stay there on our wedding night but just couldn't justify the cost. With all that being said, below are five things you should know about this bold architectural creation:

1. Expect to pay upwards of $1,200 per night (depending on the season). Meal plans are also available at an additional cost.

2. The rooms are called sanctuaries. Offering the ultimate in rest and relaxation, some of the sanctuary categories do not have televisions, radios, or telephones. Cell phone use is also prohibited in public areas and must be kept on vibrate while on the property. 

3. Upon arrival, guests receive a "firefly" communication device which allows them to contact service team members at any time. Assistance is always a quick call away.

4. All sanctuaries feature 15 ft high ceilings and are designed with the fourth wall open to amazing views while still maintaining privacy. 

Imagine waking up to this in the morning!

Imagine waking up to this in the morning!

5. This one I know from experience - Take the helicopter from the airport in Vieuxfort! I wanted to visit the resort the last time I was there so my husband and I took a short road trip. The roads aren't that bad in St. Lucia but the last 2 miles heading towards the resort are tumultuous (I remember looking out the window and seeing the sparkling blue waters about 70 ft below). I didn't think we'd make it back alive. We eventually made it to the resort (on a narrow road which snakes up the side of a cliff allowing two-way traffic), only to find out we needed an appointment to visit! 

I still want to stay there though. I need to know what sleep is like in a sanctuary with a REAL panoramic view (not that iPhone ish) on the side of a cliff overlooking the striking Pitons while the ocean crashes far below. 

One day!

One day!

The Love: Turks & Caicos

I immediately fell in love with Turks & Caicos before I even landed. Of all the islands I've been to, the bright turquoise water looked so milky and smooth from my window seat. I had never seen anything like it. I've come to realize that every island I've visited has it's own personal shade of shimmering blue waters. This was just so surreal, I hadn't ever seen anything so beautiful and couldn't wait to dip my toes in it. 

Prior to arriving in Turks I had been nervous about this trip in particular. This would be my first time traveling outside of the states alone. I wouldn't be entirely alone in Turks as I was going as part of a group called Restoration Weekend. There would be other women there; some I already knew and others I would meet. I had booked last minute though and got a pretty good deal on a flight (though it had 2 layovers each going and coming back). I will never sacrifice like that again! I usually don't skimp on comfort but I made an exception for Turks :-)

I spent 4 days and 3 nights on the island in pure bliss. I was six weeks pregnant and this would be my final trip before giving birth. It was a special time for me to reflect on motherhood and how I would soon be fitting into that picture. Restoration Weekend is a spiritually filling one with specially curated workshops dedicated to helping women improve their overall health, spiritual well-being, internal and external beauty (glam session with celebrity hairstylists and makeup artists). During my time in Turks, there was also a love and relationship seminar with Tony Gaskins that was really insightful. 

In addition to all of the above we also got to enjoy a night out on the town at the Thursday night fish fry, a sunset cruise, dinner on the beach and a masquerade banquet with Kelly Price. 

Oh and did I mention the amazing accommodations? We stayed at The Somerset on Grace Bay. I had a huge suite to myself (upon first entering I remember thinking "is this ALL for me?!"); the apartment had a full kitchen, dining area, living room, washer and dryer, 2 bathrooms (one of which was really HUGE), 1 bedroom and 2 balconies, one facing the front of the resort and the other overlooking the gigantic pool and beach. My dining room table invitingly welcomed me with a large bowl of tropical fruit salad. All was very well

I like to refer to these type of trips as "semi-solo" because if you choose to go alone as I did, you sort of feel like you're alone but you really aren't. It also gives you an opportunity to make new friends and find travel buddies. 

This was a milestone trip for me in so many ways and to this day I am very thankful for the experience. Life has been in the way and I haven't been on a Restoration Weekend trip since that one in 2015 but it definitely won't be my last. 

Restoration Weekend occurs every year at the end of September, click here to learn more. 

The Love: Barbados, an Engagement Story

Barbados is another island that holds sentimental value for me. My then-future husband and I visited here in 2010 around the time of our birthdays. It was gorgeous; the weather was perfect and of course the island atmosphere makes everything great. At that time we had been dating about four years. We stayed at the Silver Point Hotel. BEAUTIFUL hotel and location. 

When we first arrived at the hotel, we were given a substandard room (dark, small, parking lot view). My love goes and has a nice chat with the front desk manager (I'm telling you again: Kindness goes a LONG way!). She tells us she will move us the next day to a better room with a better view. As promised, the next day we were moved a lovely bright suite with an ocean view. I couldn't be happier. 

The future husband then tells me to find a nice place for dinner. The day was August 29th; my birthday is August 28th and his is the 30th. At the time I was thinking that if he were going to propose that would be the day to do it (numbers are important to him, especially since our birthdays are so close. Remember: we met on August 31st!). We agreed on a romantic restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the ocean called Champers

I didn't bring anything elegant or regal enough to wear to a formal restaurant so I did the best with what I had (a fuschia tube dress - to this day I still say I wish I would've packed better clothing options but oh well). At the restaurant we were seated on the large balcony above the ocean, waves crashing below us. My "soon-to-be-fiance-now-husband" leaves the table to go to the bathroom after the waiter takes our orders. He takes a while to get back which now makes me thinks something is up. I was about 95% sure he was going to propose. At that moment, I thought about everything leading up to this moment: his determination to go to Barbados (his dad is from there and he also has family residing on the island), having me select the location for a "special dinner", and now him taking unusually long in the restroom. 

Sure enough he returns* and as he does, he gets down on one knee, takes my hand in his and spills his heart out to me (which I sadly can't remember because I was so blissfully overwhelmed). I just remember being impatient and wishing he would hurry up and finish so I could say "YES!". 

The night was beautiful and unforgettable (though I don't remember what I ordered, I just know the excitement prevented me from finishing it). Five years and one bambino later and we are still very much happy and in love. 

*He took so long in the bathroom because he had tied the ring to the drawstring on his pants and couldn't get it off! 

My Time: Puerta Plata, Part 1

I'm not really sure how to begin with this one. I traveled to Puerta Plata in the Dominican Republic in June 2008 with different expectations than what I was met with. One rule of travel is to never have those I've learned. We considered the DR because it would be an inexpensive trip to the Caribbean for some fun, sun and sand. 

Nowadays usually whenever I book a trip I do some extensive research online, via TripAdvisor, word of mouth and so forth. My friend (old college roommate I traveled to Negril with) put some options together and we selected a resort from the list. She invited 3 of her friends and a nice little travel group developed. The DR would be our first trip together. 

We spent 4 days/5 nights on the beautiful isle of Hispaniola. We visited the caves, a local beach and a nature preserve where we sampled fresh passion fruit, bananas and guava. We also got to see snakes, crocodiles and other wild creatures in their natural habitat. I drank pina coladas out of a pineapple and let Coco the Parrot sit on my shoulder. Real touristy stuff. 

That was in the daytime.

Let me back up. When we first arrived to the Viva Tangerine Wyndham Resort we were warmly greeted with cool face towels (oxymoronic yet representative of our entire stay, keep reading). Our rooms weren't ready yet so we headed to the beach to dip our toes in the water in the meantime. No more than 2 minutes had passed before we were approached by 2 men who had been chilling beneath a palm tree. One of the men showed us a shabby laminated brochure of the tours he could take us on. We asked about prices and found they were cheaper than what the resort was offering. We told him we'd think about it but wouldn't make a decision yet. One of my friends asked him about the nightlife there in Sosua/Cabarete. He said he could show us around the town that evening.

We agreed. He said he would meet us behind the resort at 9. 

9 o'clock comes around and we're all dressed up in our "going out" clothes. We head to the back of the resort, walking (running, rather) through this shadowy canopy of flowers and ivy. We reach a small parking lot and see the 2 men chatting near the exit with a security guard (that happens to be armed with an M16 rifle. Okay).  The men greet us in a heavy Spanish accent and away we go.

End scene.

So, here I am again in a car with 2 strange men going God knows where. But there's safety in numbers, right? The roads are eerily dark and there doesn't seem to be any civilization around us. We turn onto an even smaller dirt road. There are 4 of us squeezed together in the backseat of a small Toyota. Just like in Nassau, I begin sizing these men up.

To be continued!