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Dinner with a view at the stunning @westinstjohn in the Caribbean.

Wouldn't mind waking up to this โ˜€๏ธ ๐Ÿน. Happy Sunday #latergram #stjohn #westinstjohn

Look who won the hashtag contest! #WestinCheers20years ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘.
#WestinSTJohn #WestinSTJ #20YearsofParadise ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ. Thank you Marketing team for the awesome gift basket!!!!

Sometimes there's nothing better then a tropical sunset. #usvi #stjohn #westinstjohn #westin

Drinks by the bucket. What's not to like? #stjohnusvi #westinstjohn

Watch it Alex or I will send you to be moon! #adventuresinliving #loveGodembracelife

Kaylon was no match for the heavenly bed in our three bedroom villa at the Westin St. John. #kaylon #stjohn #stjohnusvi #westinstjohn



PART 5. Irma is gone and so is the sun. I no longer see the devastation around me; I no longer see anything. The island is enveloped in complete darkness, except for the lights outside some of the buildings in our resort. How long until we have running water and electricity again, I wonder. The manager assured us the resort had enough fuel to keep the generators running, but I'm not sure why they aren't, or when they will. I'm glued to our bedroom window, not able to see much, yet unable to go to bed. It is dark out there, so dark.
I see lights moving and my heart stops. It's a group of people, somewhere up top, with flashlights. Without skipping a beat, my brain immediately analyzes the two options at hand: it's either search and rescue or it's looters ready to pounce on the weak. You see, Mother Nature came through and ripped us a new one, yet I know she's not a bitch with ill intentions, she's just doing what she's done for millennia; humanity on the other hand... Sigh. Humanity is now my worst fear.
I've always thought I'd make a great forensic or private investigator because I have a great deal of paranoia and a very active imagination. But right now it's not about vocational alternatives, it's about survival; it's about making it all the way back home alive. Just because Irma is gone doesn't mean this crisis is done.
Right now my paranoia and my instinct have my full attention, for they keep me safe. I combine them with all my wild life experiences growing up in my beautiful Mexico, and condense them into one intangible survival kit that I carry with me from now on. I throw in a few survival tips I learned from The Walking Dead, just for good measures. I finally step away from that window to go to bed, and I make a promise to myself: I've already made one really bad decision this week, I will sure as fuck not make another one.

Shout out to St. John and all the Virgin Islands for this #tbt My heart hurts seeing what has become of my favorite place on Earth. My family and I have been going for 24 years and consider #stjohnusvi our second home. Thoughts and prayers to our friends struggling to rebuild. We have so many amazing memories, from snorkeling and diving, the gorgeous beaches and sunsets, we can't wait until we can visit again. I had my first drink on this island, saw my first octopus (snorkeling), and had @kennychesney autograph a St. John license plate that still hangs in my home today (thanks Kenny!) ๐Ÿน#tillnexttime #islandstrong #vistrong #usvirginislands #st.john.usvi #stjohn #bvi #paradise #palmtrees #tireswing #collegespringbreak #loveforlovecity #lovecitystrong #donkey #turtles #iguana #woodysseafoodsaloon #cruzbaylanding #beachbar #westinstjohn

Thinking of our honeymoon on St. John USVI ๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ฎ ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป #tbt #throwbackthursday #westinstjohn #stjohn #stjohnusvi #usvi #heartbroken #followforfollow #love #honeymoon #ocean #hike #nationalparks #views #caneelbay

PART 4. Ghurghrghghurgh. That's all I get from the faucet; no running water. The electricity is out, too; no surprise there. It's okay, the hotel told us they could make their own potable water; they also said they had a generator and an astronomical number of gallons of fuel, which I guess are enough to power a generator for enough time. What's enough time? How long will we be here? I don't know what numbers mean anymore. I drive a car, so I know how fast 65mph is; I also know I only need 13 gallons of gas for a full tank, which will last me for ~300 miles. But in this situation, what do 185mph winds really mean? What do 400 bazillion gallons of fuel really mean? I don't know. I just trust.
The assessment continues. It's still daytime. Thank god Irma hit during the day... I can't imagine going thru it at night. I guess that answers my own question about a deeper level of hell; it could always be worse. We start venturing outside. The wind gusts are still strong and unpredictable, with moderate breaks that give you a false sense of safety.
The hill directly behind us is devastated, not one leaf left on the lush foliage that greeted us when we got here. How are the animals doing, I wonder. The lamp post is bent at a 90 degree angle. A large palm tree blocks the road at a 45 degree angle. There are other fallen trees on our road, but miraculously, our car was not hit and it doesn't show any damage. How is this even possible? I don't know, but I'll take it. Other cars sustained damage; one was even turned sideways by the wind. The assessment continues.
There is so much to process that I don't know at which point I realize that Irma has gone and I am still alive; that we had survived.
To be continued.
๐Ÿ“ธ Candid photo of my husband outside our villa.

PART 3. The winds pick up and we hear horrible bangs against our walls. There are audible gusts of wind, so great that they stand out against the constant sound of death surrounding us; and when they come, I can feel the barometric pressure in my ears, until they pop when that gust ceases. Ceases? Nothing ceases with Mother Nature right now. She's fucking pissed. The adrenaline keeps pumping thru my body, but the outside must stay calm, for Sofia's sake. This is completely normal; this is what you do when you go on vacation. She sits in the bathtub, playing with her tablet; I sit next to her with my striped bag. Don't take that bag from me, I will cut you.
How long did it last? I don't know. From that point forward, time stood still. I lost track of the hours, the days... I looked out the window, seeing the winds pick up tree limbs like feathers. The wind and rain got so thick, that at moments all I could see out the window was white. There were brief moments of clarity when I could see that the bear-proof trash can had been lifted from across the road to our front door, palm trees had been uprooted and toppled over, and the once dense jungle was shredded to pieces. Is this the worst, I thought. Is there another level of hell after this one? What say you, Dante?
To be continued....
๐Ÿ“ธ Some of the many sunken/destroyed boats on the resort's private bay.

PART 2. I pack a bag of essentials: eye glasses (fuck, fuck, fuck... why didn't I get lasik years ago?), some first aid supplies, our passports, my daughter's life jacket, in case we end up threading thru water; some food in case we get stranded and she gets hungry; a couple bottles of water, not too many bc they would make my bag too heavy and I could end up on my own trying to get her to safety; a change of clothes in case we needed a dry set; my phone charger and a battery charger loaded with 100 hours of power. I'm just realizing right now that I should've packed a knife... That bag went with me from bedroom to bathroom to bedroom, as we decided which room was the best bunker. Full-on survival mode. Hope for the best, but ALWAYS prepare for the worst. There is something else I wish I had in that bag....
And we wait.
The cable and internet go out. This must be it. It's here. We're on our own. What will our story be? Goodbye outside world.
To be continued...
๐Ÿ“ธ The path to the pool and beach.

PART 1. Irma is coming, after all. So you prepare; you stock up on water, food and first aid supplies. You choose a spot outside your building where maybe, just maybe, a tree won't fall on your rental car. You dress in clothes that will let you move swiftly if you end up exposed to the elements. "Foot injuries are the number one injuries in a natural disaster", I remember my husband telling me over the years; so I put my tennis shoes on (which I'd packed with the intention of working out), and I put Sofia's high tops on in case she needs to walk thru debris.
It's a category 5, the worst ever recorded, they say. What's a 5? What's a 4? What does that mean ? I haven't lost my internet connection and my phone says the winds I see outside are 27mph. They looked bad enough to me, but Irma is supposed to hit over 170mph, so what does that mean? It probably means I'll be dead in a couple hours. I've never even seen a tropical storm; I don't know what it means to live thru a hurricane. I've seen them on tv; they look awful, but still, I don't know what to expect. The big bad wolf is about to blow over my house... is my house made of straw, sticks or bricks? Time will tell.
We wait.
๐Ÿ“ธ What's left of the lobby at our resort.

Reaching the promised land, Puerto Rico.
Dear friends and family, my family and I are alive and well. We were evacuated to Puerto Rico yesterday, as were hundreds of other #hurricaneirmasurvivors around the Virgin Islands. I'm sorry for not being able to let you know we were okay any sooner. Thank you for thinking of us and for having us in your prayers. Thank you, god, for letting us see the sun rise again.
What we left behind is complete devastation. It will take months to pick up the pieces, and years for Mother Nature to heal. But heal she will, and I hope and pray for the same for all the islanders whose home has been ravaged into oblivion.
I am processing so many emotions right now... I've been riding the waves of the stages of grief. I have been through some very scary situations in my life before, but going through something like this with your child is a whole different game. I can just look at my precious daughter and burst into tears. She has handled this experience extremely well, though she is experiencing separation anxiety. She doesn't quite know what's going on or what happened, but she senses something is off. .
My eternal gratitude goes out to the 37 staff members at the @westinstjohnvillas, who volunteered to stay with us and SAVED our lives. They worked tirelessly around the clock to help us get home as soon as possible. I cannot thank them enough.
Thank you to the ferry crew at @elconresort for lending their transportation resources to ferry us out of St John, and taking us to safety in Puerto Rico. Their staff has welcomed us with open arms.
My heart breaks for the majority of people on St John, who didn't have the resources we had, and to this day continue to survive without electricity or water. ๐Ÿ’”
The journey home continues. Thank you for your love and concern. ๐Ÿ™

#hurricaneirma #hurricaneirmasurvivor #stjohnusvi #westinstjohn #westinstjohnresort #puertorico #fajardo #hurricaneirmaevacuation #thankfultobealive

Praying for all our friends at the Westin St John and USVI St John #lovecity #lovecitystrong #westinstjohn #cruzbay #greatcruzbay #vistanasignatureexperiences #kennychesney

Throw back to many memories in our favorite vacation spot of all time... my heart breaks for the devastation that the Virgin Islands is experiencing. I can't imagine... #prayforthevirginislands #irmasucks #foxys #soggydollarbar #westinstjohn #ivans #tbt

It truly hurts watching the beautiful island of St. John go through this struggle Mother Nature has brought upon us. The brave ones that stayed behind to rebuild this wonderful place are in my prayers! My husband and I will be coming back and we cannot wait to show our support and love to this wonderful community. But until then, we will do everything we can while at home. The photo on the top right was taken right next to where the current photo on the top left was taken... ๐Ÿ˜žIt just breaks my heart #usvirginislands #hurricaneirma #caribeanlife #stjohnusvi #irma #lives #westinstjohn #cruzbay #cruzbaystjohn #stthomasusvi #hitidebarandgrill #trunkbay #cruzbayferrydock

#USVI on my mind today and especially #StJohn. Realized as day went on this will probably be the first time we will not go there since 2009. If we can manage to go without the kids, we will. But doubtful. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’” We will be back as soon as we can. #WestinStJohn @vibestjohn

Praying for all our friends in paradise in the path of #hurricaneirma #mothernature #usvi #westinstjohn #happyplace

Praying for my little slice of heaven in the VI's and rest of the Caribbean. Stay safe. My heart is aching. #STJ #westinstjohn #jostvandyke #jvd #soggydollarbar #islandrootscharters #islandroo#islandlife #islandfancy #asolare #ivanstressfreebar #piratesbight #kennychesney

Thank you Cheryl for making us delicious Roti every week! Every Tuesday at our Farmer's Market from 3:00pm to 6:00pm you can purchase our fresh, locally grown produce & more local goodies! #islandlife #supportlocal #locallygrown #freshveggies #roti #islandfood #westin #westinstjohn #caribbean #usvi #islandvibes #summer #sand #sun #fun

Knox & Ollies with my girl โค๏ธ#westinstjohn #stjohnusvi #usvi #summer2017 #minime #usvi

Great kombucha & a great time at our Loving the Locals event at work! #paradisepours #kombucha #westinstjohn #stjohnusvi

Reunited and it feels so good ๐ŸŽถ #finallyjoined #soexpensivebutworthit #westinstjohn

Bubble Gum flavored snow cones to cool the kids off at our Lovin' The Locals event yesterday ๐Ÿฌ #westincheers20years #westinstjohn #stjohn #lovinthelocals #usvi #caribbean #islandlife

ARC Vodka and The Westin Resort & Villas...what else could you ask for on a Saturday? We'll be here until 6pm sampling cocktails, vodka, and grooving to the sounds of Cool Session Brass! #arcvodka #westinstjohn #virginislands #craft #vodka #caribbean #vacation #islandlife #distillery #artisanal

#throwback when it's time to leave the resort after a weeks vacation. ๐Ÿ˜ค#westinstjohn #stjohnsvirginislands

"Have you ever seen a dream singing? Well, I did! Have you ever seen a dream dancing? Well, I did! Have you ever seen a dream talking? Well, I did!" #throwback #stjohnsvirginislands #westinstjohn #sunset

What better way to enhance your vacation than rewarding yourself with a spa treatment? Indulge yourself with sounds of the ocean during a massage, aromatherapy to ease the mind and island stones to ease the tension...#spalife #vacationmode #massage #relaxation #westinspa #westinstjohn #stjohn #usvirginislands #caribbean #spa #easethemind #refresh #replenish #rejuvenate

FREE Admission - Saturday August 26th 2017 - 12:00-6:00 P.M. - Westin Beachfront - Feat. Cool Sessions Brass #readytofete #stjohn #communityappreciation #westinstjohn #usvirginislands #islandlife

Well it's been a crazy past few days. Sadly, my grandfather passed away on Thursday. The following day I said goodbye to my sister as she is leaving for college. Then wrapped up with the @schs__danceteam 's home camp with an awesome summer showcase! But now, @joshbraithwaite and I have made it to St. John for some R&R. Loving it here so far! We're making some amazing memories ๐Ÿalso loving my little clutch bag by @flux_mediums !! #stjohn #usvirginislands #westinstjohn #vacation #beachtime #restandrelaxation #sunshine #fluxmediums

Coming soon! The Westin St. John is proud to announce that we will be using Itiba Body Products in our Spa. Itiba offers a line of all-natural skincare products that can be used by all skin types, all skin sizes and all skin colors. All Itiba products are handcrafted on St. Croix of the finest local plants, fruits and essential oils, with no fillers, parabens or animal products. We are so excited to use these products in our Spa services & give our guests a true relaxing experience using locally made Caribbean products. #itibabeauty #itibaexperience #supportlocal #westinstjohn #stjohn #usvirginislands #stthomas #stcroix #caribbean

Join us for an appreciation event to our local community here in St.John! On August 26th from 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. we will be providing LIVE entertainment such as Cool Sessions, DJ Cypha & a performance by our local Fire Dancers! We will have entertainment for children such as bouncy houses, a dunk tank, games, face painting, snow cones & more! This even is FREE admission! Food & Beverage will be available for purchase! #lovinthelocals #westincheers20years #fete #stjohn #westinstjohn #usvi #caribbean #party #islandlife #summer #sand #beach #fun #cruzan #supportlocal

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