Monday, November 5, 2012

Reichhold Center for the Arts, Virgin Islands

The Reichhold Center for the Arts, is an open air venue associated with the University of the Virgin Islands located on St.Thomas.

This past Friday night I had the pleasure of attending a preformance of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra.

The Puerto Rico Symphony's  inaugural concert was held in 1958  in Mayaquez and  was directed by Maestro Pablo Casals. The current musical director is the Chilean Maestro Maximiano Valdes. The symphony has a long and elustrious history.

The Rising Stars program was started in 1981 as a vision of the Honorable Judge Emeritus, Verne A. Hodge as a way to positively engage youth on island, keeping them in school and out of trouble. Since their inception the group has become Goodwill Ambassadors for the Virgin Islands traveling as far as Taiwan and Japan. They have preformed in many spectacular venues like the Lincoln Center the Capital building in Washington D.C. and on the Skyline stage in Chicago. They are my favorite part of Carnival each spring here on St.Thomas during the battle of the steel bands as well as the parade.

The program Friday, included:

J. Brahms - Academic Festival Overture Ob. 80

Rimsky Korsakov - Procession of the Nobles

Von Suppe - Light Cavalry

Tchaikovsky- Marche Slav

Mozart - Figaro

Love on Top

Gracia por la Musica

L.V. Beethoven - Symphony no. 5

Please notice that the Rising Stars do not have any sheet music in front of them.  They played from memory.  This is an outdoor venue, so you will hear the frogs and crickets give their own concert along with the musicians and my photograpy skills leave a lot to be desired.

If you would like to explore being a buyer or seller in the Virgin Islands please give me a call at 340 344 2959

Building or Renovating in The Virgin Islands

In the virgin Islands, like in most place, home owners are constantly working on their property.  With all renovation  you have to consider the impact on the value of your home. We have recently decided, to update the decking system on our home. Well, correction, it was a decision made a long time ago, the logistics of making it a reality was a bit challenging in the Virgin Islands.

We purchased our home in 2004, prior to our purchase the deck on the home was torn off by a hurricane.  Although I have lived on St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands for almost nine years, thankfully,  I have not experienced a full hurricane. After seeing the damage created by hurricane Sandy, I know our home would not have been here to purchase had the storm that took the deck been close to the level of Sandy. But I digress.

To restore the deck on our home, permits are required in the Virgin Islands. The Department of Planning and Natural Resources requires architectural drawings rendered or approved by a local architect, as well as a copy of the as built survey of the home.The licensed contractor who is going to do the work is required to  attach an estimate of what it is going to cost to do the work.  Once you have obtained these and submitted them and paid a fee, it takes a few months for the review to be completed and if there are any issues you may be asked to alter the drawings or make a further explanation of what you want to do. This may take a while depending on what else you are asked to submit and then that documentation starts the review process anew. Once started in earnest, this process took us 5 months.

Once your permits are in hand, (you should make a laminated copy of them and post them prominently the closest electrical pole works) the job can begin. There are stages which require inspections to make sure building codes are being adhered to. The slide show is a pictorial of the progress of installing our decks. I still have to order the stainless steel  cording to complete the banister and of course the staining is left to do.

If you are interested in building a home in the Virgin Islands I can help you with locating the perfect lot. Building cost vary from $200 per sq. ft to $500 per sq. ft. depending on the level of finishing you select.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands - Ready to Help you Buy or Sell Real Estate

                                                       Aisha Watley - my stylist
                         Phoenix Visions Hair Design, in Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

I have lived in the Virgin Islands for almost nine years now, helping people sell and buy real estate. As with any profession, it is important to maintain a neat, professional image.  With the tropical, humid atmosphere it can truly be a struggle here in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I have had a number of stylists who have done my hair well, but  for the most part, by the time I reached my car in the parking lot and looked in the mirror I could not tell I had been to the hairdressers. A little frustrating.  I have tried relaxers, twists and a host of other processes, I didn't have the patience for locks, all to no avail.

Early this year, when it was time for a trim, I called Sharon, a stylist I had been to before, she owns a shop in French Town and is a good stylist but she was off island. She said, "I hear there is a new stylist in town and I have heard a lot of good things about her. She is good with all hair textures". She gave me the name of a shop, Phoenix Visions Hair Designs and specifically  the name of Aisha. I have never had a stylist recommend another person before in  St. Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands or anywhere else I have lived. I needed to have my hair done so I took a chance,  I called 340 774 1944, and made an appointment.

From the moment I walked in, Aisha Watley, made me feel it was about me and what I wanted. She took my hair loose and familiarize herself with it's texture,  Aisha asked a lot of questions about how I felt and what I wanted. I'd just lost  a fair amount of weight and wanted a new look, to go with the new me. She asked about  concerns I had, my  hair care routine and habits. I told her I had been searching for a minimal care routine as I was hugely busy and I go to the gym regularly.  Aisha made recommendations for day to day care,  and suggested a style, I could wear either straight or naturally curly.  I stepped out on faith and allowed her to do what she recommended. Aisha sent me home with products to use for both a straight look and a curly/wash and go look.

I loved the results, but I was still skeptical with the straight/ flat iron effect. I made it to the car and peaked in the mirror, my hair still looked great. I made it home, it still looked great! I was amazed. When I decided to go curly, the results was equally as satisfying.

I have since, recommended many friends and business associates to Aisha and Phoenix Visions Hair Designs. They have each reported positive experiences with Aisha. The most recent  referral is a male customer who  is new to the island. I had noticed a lot of men and children too,  enjoying services, while I was having my hair done, all of them leave looking great.

The shop is well organized, they are ready for you when you arrive for your appointment. They give you a call to remind you of your appointment the day before.  As a real estate professional.  I have a busy schedule with things constantly coming up, and this is really appreciated.  They are a full service salon, manicures, pedicures, massages, waxing, and they offer wedding packages and services for other special occasions.

Today  I decided I wanted to go even shorter. Aisha, did not hesitate, she asked a few crucial questions and went to work. I have a fresh, short, sassy look!  So if you live in St. Thomas,  are vacationing, or getting married here and need any salon services, check out Phoenix Visions Hair Design and ask for Aisha.

If you are in The Virgin Islands and are abuyer, seller or  want to rent property call me at 340 344 2959.  With my fresh, sassy look, thanks to Aisha, I will help you find the perfect place.