boutique hotel

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! 

PureLuxe: Blue Diamond Riviera, Mexico



If it's pure, unadulterated luxury you're looking for than you need to check out Blue Diamond Riviera located in Riviera Maya, Mexico. BDR is an all-inclusive, ADULT only resort that offers various types of meal plans and spa packages (or a combination of both). I personally love Mexico because I feel like you get the biggest bang for your buck there. This would be a perfect destination for a honeymoon too! 

Located 30 minutes from the Cancun airport and only 10 minutes from Playa del Carmen, BDR offers greens for golfers and is set amongst lagoons, mangroves and beachfront.... Gorgeous! 

Jetsetter is currently running a promotion for this resort offering rates from $399 per night (which is a STEAL!): The Jetsetter rate includes all meals (which you'd have to purchase separately on their website), unlimited premium beverages, a welcome bottle of champagne and basket of fruit, and free local and long distance calls.