Meet Emmy, mother of two gorgeous island girls and the older sister of Sophie, our creative director. She answers a few of our questions below:
What did you love the most about growing up in the islands? I didn't really know there was any other way to live, and looking back, that is kind of awesome. We didn't have malls and most of the time cable TV or even electricity was not available for one reason or another (sometimes the reason was a hurricane). So we spent a lot of time outdoors and in the ocean. We learned about the sea and boats. When we were little, we'd go boating almost every weekend. During the summer we'd sail at sailing camp and play at the beach all day, or go camping on deserted islands.
What is it like to raise kids in the islands? It's the best thing ever! I can't imagine having to dress a three year and one year old in layers of warm clothes every time we want to go outside. I love that they can be barefoot and in diapers all year round. It's an easy 2 minutes to the beach so I can tire out the kids - naptime is always easy after a trip to the beach.
You've lived in the states for college and for a few years after. What are the things about the mainland that you miss the most? (We beg you to answer this question, mainly to make ourselves feel better about our lives. Thanks.) The fresh produce and amazing grocery stores! I literally get teary-eyed when I walk into a Whole Foods if I'm visiting the states. Ahhh the beautiful aisles of healthy, fresh food right at my fingertips! The bakery, the great deli - oh my! Also, any type of furniture or antique shopping. We don't have much of that here, and hardly any online stores ship here.
Meet Lauren, the island girl who now lives in Las Vegas (she was smart enough to stick to the warm weather at least). She and Sophie caught up over the holidays in the Virgin Islands. She answers our questions below:
What was your favorite part of growing up in the islands? It's funny... that's the question I get asked the most when I meet people, and it's the hardest to answer! In my head, I think "What's not to love about growing up surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and 80 degree weather year-round?" But how do you say that without sounding like a jerk?!
Honestly, I don't think I realized how lucky I was to grow up in the Virgin Islands until I went to college. From afar, growing up in St. Thomas looks the same as growing up in any small town or community on the mainland. Everyone is so tight knit and friends aren't just friends, they're family. But the lifestyle and the culture of the VI is unparalleled. We played outdoors year-round, we went boating to different islands every weekend, we experienced hurricanes; from the day we were born, we developed a sense of adventure and fearlessness. I think our parents' attitudes and experiences had something to do with it, but our surroundings definitely encouraged it.
What is the first thing you do when you arrive back home? Hug my family and take a shot of Cruzan Rum, which is conveniently served to you at the entrance to baggage claim. Ha! Seriously though, after the shot rum, I get to the beach as soon as I can. There's a simple slogan that sums up that first feeling of being back at the beach, "ocean air & salty hair." Nothing can really beat it.
Favorite restaurant on St. Thomas? Thirteen. The restaurant has amazing food and is a mostly a local place because it's got little to no signage and is tucked away in the lush mountainside on the North side of St.Thomas.