"Sitting here in paradise, with some time to search my soul."
This month, I had the beautiful opportunity to experience a special island for the sixth time, Jamaica. This place is very dear to my heart for many reasons.
Five years ago on May 7th, 2014, I traveled out of the country for the first time to experience a new culture and my first real vacation. I had no idea what I was in for on that trip.
Not only did I have the time of my life with two very special girlfriends, but I also met the man that would later become my husband.
(Jess, Brooke, and me on our special first trip to Jamaica in 2014)
When I met Minor, (the man who would become my husband) I just knew he was a special person, but I had no idea that we would share a marriage later in life.
He was experiencing a rough chapter in his life emotionally, and God lined me up to help him transform his life.
(Brooke, Minor, and me during the trip that I met him. You can see in his face how much he was was trying to smile with pain in his eyes)
After our meeting in Jamaica, Minor and I instantly became great spirit buddies. We would pray together and help each other through some challenging moments in each other's lives. It wasn't until over one year later that he would call me and tell me his feelings for me and drive all through the night from Arkansas to Indiana to see me.
From that moment on, our lives would never be the same. We started dating, and he would drive to Indiana every other weekend for over three years to spend time with me.
We went back to Jamaica together for the first time in May of 2016, and have continued to make May a special month to travel to celebrate the time we first met.
May 7th, 2017; Minor proposed to be on the same beach that we had our first meaningful conversation.
May 7th, 2018; we traveled back to the same beach with our closest family and friends and married each other.
This May 7th, 2019; we just celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and my heart couldn't be more full!
Every time we go back to Jamaica, we fall in love all over again.
Jamaica is so special for so many reasons. If you haven't experienced this beautiful island yet, you must find a way to! The people and culture are so beautiful. It is so amazing to experience this island, and whenever I go I am always truly connected with my soul. I knew from my very first trip that this island would become another home to me.
There is a saying in Jamaican culture that if you have been to Jamaica more than three times, you are considered a "Jamerican"
It is an honor and privilege to have experienced Jamaica as many times as I have.
It is an absolute PARADISE, and every time I am there I am reminded of God's beauty.
I absolutely love the time I have with the beach and the sunset, and I feel so much gratitude being surrounded by such breathtaking views while nurturing my soul in this environment.
During my most recent trip, my husband did so much reading, and it truly touched my heart to see him get this time. He is always so busy working hard, and Jamaica is the one place where he will shut out the world and be present with not only me, but himself and most importantly, with God.
During his reading on this trip, he came across one of the most amazing poems and I want to share this reminder with you.
This poem was a beautiful reminder to experience on the beach.
I share this with you so that you remember that YOU are who YOU are for a reason.
I pray that you are reminded in this moment that you are special and loved.
What I love most about Jamaica, is being surrounded by LOVE.
Being in Jamaica is a constant reminder that you are LOVED and that LOVE is always surrounding you. You see it in the beauty of the sunset and ocean, you see it in the relationships that are all around you, you see it in the people and the culture and the gratitude that the people of Jamaica have for every moment, and you feel it in your being.
I love walking by couples and seeing them vibrate love and be so connected to each other. It is a beautiful thing to see human beings functioning out of the most beautiful place of love.
Experiencing Jamaica is a true reminder of LOVE, which is the most amazing part of you, your SOUL.
Another thing I love about traveling to Jamaica; the STYLE!
I LOVE dressing up in Jamaica! From swimsuits and beachy cover ups, to dressing up for dinner; it's one of my favorite times to feel beautiful and express my style!
I wanted to share some of the styles I wore on my trip; everything from SLS Boutique styles to quick Wal-Mart finds!
I'm also going to share with you some vulnerable beach pictures of me in some current in-style trends for summer and beach weather!
Travel wear on the way to paradise is so important to me in terms of style! This outfit has to be something comfortable and easy to travel in, but it also has to fit the weather for both the place you're leaving and arriving.
Our Dani High Waist Knit pants from SLS Boutique were perfect for my travels! They are SO comfortable and soft, and were thick enough to keep me warm in cooler weather yet cool enough to keep me comfortable in the Jamaican heat. I also loved the pocket feature on these pants!
I had a simple Wal-Mart "White T" tucked in with my jean jacket, so that the white would keep me cool and break up the color with my denim jacket. I love my simple Wal-Mart finds that I can pair with all sorts of styles!
Speaking of demin jacket; one of my go-to choices for this type of style is to wear a blue denim jean jacket! It's perfect for traveling on a cold airplane, easy to remove when in warmer weather, and looks cute with everything! This style has been a go-to of mine since my first trip out of the country. I love the versatility and convenience of this style.
I chose this denim jacket from H&M and I absolutely love it! It has an oversize fit and a medium to dark wash so it goes with so many different styles.
(I also love adding a hat when I arrive in paradise and getting in vaca mode!)
A denim jacket is also perfect for your returning travels! You can easily pair a jean jacket with a quick and easy simple style for your travel day home. I like to pair it with something that is again perfect for both temperatures, but something that will be cool enough to wear when traveling from the heat.
A simple black travel dress, such as our Lucille dress (featured below) is perfect for this. A style with short sleeves, an appropriate length, and freedom to move when traveling is ideal for your travels home! I do recommend wearing a pair of shorts underneath for extra comfort.
(Ok so I was extremely sad to leave and you can see it all over my face here, but at least I was comfortable!)
I pulled myself together as I said one last "see ya later" to the beach...
My shoes were another great find that I loved wearing for travel days and beach days! They were $7.98 at Wal-Mart and I was thrilled to find these cute and comfortable shoes there for a great price! They were perfect for running around on the beach or going to dinner.
Here's a bit of a closer look to these shoes; they were so easy to throw on and nearly went with ALL of my outfits for day and night!
OK so this is the first time I have worn a two piece bathing suit in 5 years!!
I'm going to get vulnerable for a moment....
I work out a lot, but I also love food; and you add getting in to my 30's in the mix and has left me with a change in my confidence compared to the skinny twenty something I used to be.
In all honesty, it has been a challenge getting used to my new body. I haven't had the joy of giving birth yet in this chapter of my life, but I can relate to all women who watch their bodies change just by aging and that alone is a challenge.
Some people are so used to me being skinny growing up, but people don't understand that if I hadn't brought exercise in to my life four years ago my body would be so different.
I started to gain weight significantly when I reached my upper twenties, so I went on a journey to find workouts that I enjoyed to keep my body moving.
I still have my foodie moments but to be honest I love to eat good food!
Right now I am in a chapter of finding balance of finding what works for me, but I am happy with my body and it's curves!
I love having my full figure body (and so does my husband lol)
No matter what your body type, just love yourself in the process and thank your body for giving you the gift of life!
Now back to the style:
Neon is a fierce summer trend this season! I loved how the green neon popped on the beach and even made me look so tan.
The neon high-waist bottom suit was from SHEIN.com, and I paired the top with a super comfortable swim top from Old Navy. (I have to have good support from my swim tops and not all suits can offer that, but Old Navy has your back if this is something you are looking for!
Though I loved bringing back the two piece swimwear; I am a sucker for a hot one piece suit!
I always feel so confident in these styles; and I have so many of them, but I LOVED this hot pink one I found at PrettyLittleThing.com. This suit was so light and comfortable, and just a pop of fun on a beautiful day!
One of my other "go-to's" for a good beach day, my hats!
One of my favorite hats; was one from our own shop! Our Alex Boater Hat is one of my favorite beachwear hats that goes with so many styles. I paired it with so many quick go-to looks for beach days!
It's not too big and not too small, so it blocks the sun in style!
On my last day on the beach I wore my hot pink swimsuit with my Alex Boater Hat, and paired a $5 Wal-Mart black tank with my go-to beach black shorts from Forever 21. I bought these shorts years ago and they have been a great choice for wearing for vaca every year. So easy to take on and off for jumping in the ocean!
I also paired my simple Wal-Mart sandals with this outfit and my Frankie Clutch from SLS Boutique which was so convenient for shopping for artwork on the beach!
I felt SO great in our Skylar Stripe Dress on the beach! It was so great for being a shorter length and a short sleeve in the heat, as well as getting to show off my tan!
I also loved pairing it with my SLS Frankie Clutch and Evie Necklace! Both of these accessories gave me an extra look that I loved.
& of course, the $8 Wal-Mart sandals which made their way for a great look for dinner too!
I also loved how my Isbella Tassel Earrings from SLS Boutique went with nearly all of my looks! This simple black maxi is a return vaca dress that I have worn for years because it is so comfortable for beachwear! It was great for the late night bonfire on the beach, and I loved pairing these statement earrings to dress up a simple style.
On the day of my anniversary, my husband and I wanted to have a little fun re-creating our day by wearing our old wedding gear! I wore a different wedding dress for my ceremony, but this simple white dress from lulus.com was absolutely perfect for my reception! It was light and easy to move in, and so great for dancing in the sand!
I was so excited to wear it again for a date with my husband on the beach. I LOVED that our Nora Tassel Earrings from SLS Boutique paired with this dress perfectly! It was special to wear my reception dress in a different way.
I also loved wearing the Nora Tassel Earrings with my Kori Jumpsuit from SLS Boutique!
Wearing a jumpsuit is ideal on vacation because you can be so free and they are so comfortable and beachy. I love the color we chose for this jumpsuit because you can dress it up and make it chic or you can wear it for a more casual look.
One of my favorite things about this jumpsuit is the BACK of it!
I think it is so sexy to have the criss cross low cut back with the high-waist cinch in the middle.
I loved showing off my curves to my husband in this one!
Until next time, Jamaica
I'm so grateful for another trip to paradise with my best friend.
Jamaica will ALWAYS have the most dear place in my heart.
I can't thank Jamaica enough for giving me peace in my soul, and for giving me the most amazing partner in life.
I end this special blog with appreciation for Jamaica and all of the beautiful souls who call this place home. Many of the people who live there never get to experience their own home in the ways that visitors do. They spend their days working hard and serving guests to bring financial support to their communities.
I am SO thankful they share their home with us.
If you ever get the chance, save some money to experience this beautiful place.
If you've been there before, go back!
Plan a trip with someone you love and experience the days with your soul, the beach, and LOVE.
Peace, Love, & Happiness!