That Redhead Adventure: Jumping Off A Cliff in Jamaica

I jumped off a cliff last summer, right after my wedding.

I landed in the ocean, which I highly recommend. :)

Cliff Diving at Rick's Cafe Negril Jamaica | That Redhead

You can do it, too, if you ever happen to be at Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Jamaica. Rick’s Cafe is legendary for being one of the oldest establishments on the coast, having great sunset views, showcasing lots of live reggae music, and (of course) cliff diving. There are multiple spots to jump and always quite a crowd watching and cheering. Boats from resorts along 7 Mile Beach stop to take in the show as well.

Rick's Cafe in Negril, Jamaica. Cliff diving, reggae, sunsets.

image courtesy Things To Do In Jamaica

I thought about doing it on our previous trip to Negril and didn’t get around to it. On our honeymoon, though, I was bound and determined to check it out. I was feeling particularly fearless after a wedding week that included my grandmother suddenly dying and a thunderstorm that nearly tore apart the outdoor venue. I had walked through a personal hell the likes of which I’d never experienced before and I came to the reasonable conclusion that I was made of titanium. I also have a sick need to challenge my fears, which include deep water and heights.

Cliff Diving Rick's Cafe Negril Jamaica | That Redhead

“What am I thinking?”

I watched others jump and come up unscathed, including a man who resembled Santa Claus who jumped while wearing his strap-on sandals and made the most painful smack as he hit the water. Well, that was it. If he could do it, so could I. I gathered my courage and made my way up to the platform, with my husband wishing me well and hoping that this wasn’t the shortest marriage ever.

Cliff diving Rick's Cafe Negril Jamaica | That Redhead
Cliff Diving Rick's Cafe Negril Jamaica | That Redhead

There are skilled locals who jump from even higher points on trees and other areas but the highest place that most people jump off is 35 feet in the air. At 10.6 meters, this is slightly higher than the tallest platform that skilled athletes dive off of competitively. I have since told my doctor this story and he asked me if I’m crazy. Spoiler alert: YES.

There’s a warning sign just at the top of the cliff which basically warns you to turn back now or else:

Cliff diving warning sign at Rick's Cafe Negril | That Redhead

I asked the “lifeguard” up top what his advice was. He said to make sure to jump out, and try to get completely straight so that I’d go straight in the water and nothing went in at the wrong angle. Also, make sure not to follow the guys at the bottom into the caves for the “special tour.” Sound advice. I took one last deep breath and leapt.

Cliff Diving Rick's Cafe Jamaica | That Redhead
Cliff Diving Rick's Cafe Jamaica | That Redhead
Cliff Diving at Rick's Cafe Negril Jamaica | That Redhead

Quite the leap, eh? I’m pleased to say that I DID manage to get my legs together before I hit the water. There’s barely any time to realize you are falling before you hit the water. And then the impact is noticeable and stunning. I nearly lost my bathing suit top and even though I was holding my nose shut, water still got up my nose and into my head. Call it a free nasal rinse if you will. I managed to squirm back into my bikini before I surfaced. I ignored the offers to take the cave tour. Rumor has it it is dangerous and you will likely lose your valuables, not that I was wearing my wedding ring when I had this jump in mind! I left all that in the safe in our resort room for most of our adventures in Jamaica.

I emerged victorious, exhilarated and most importantly, unscathed. I felt great and I’m glad I did it. Would I do it again? Probably not. It was a once-in-a-lifetime daredevil move that suited where I was in my personal development. I don’t know that I’ll need to do that again and take that risk. Also, the rest of Rick’s Cafe wasn’t that impressive so I can’t imagine we’ll be back.

Cliff Diving Rick's Cafe Negril Jamaica | That Redhead

A note to the reader: In my reading to write this blog I have come across stories of other people who weren’t so lucky. People have been seriously injured and at least one person has died from bad jumping technique, the influence of alcohol, and the lack of preparedness for disaster at Rick’s and rural Jamaica in general. That Redhead in NO WAY advocates hurling yourself off of a cliff; you are responsible for your own choices. There are definitely risks involved in this adventure and my doctor says don’t do it. :)

Learning to Like House Centipedes…Or How the Universe is Teaching Me a Lesson Today

OMG. House centipedes. Is there anything worse? They’re the million-legged creatures that come out at night in old houses when you’re too groggy to smash them and dangit, they’re fast. I’ll spare you all a photo to accompany this entry. You’re welcome.

Having seen cockroaches many times in my city-living, foodservice-working life, I will concede that those things are worse. Sidenote: I’m not even sure how I’m going to get through typing this entry without barfing. Seriously.

Apparently it must be house centipede season as we near the autumn. I’ve seen one or two every evening for the last week or so in the house. They dart across the floor and I commence the shrieking and flailing but always have to kill them myself since Jim never makes it over fast enough to get them in time. The horror. Predictably, Jim, who loves to play devil’s advocate with me, keeps asking questions. “Why are these things so bad? Why are you so scared? Why are they so gross? It’s just a bug, Christiana. We live in an old house now.”

For the record, I would like to say that those are NOT the right questions to ask your traumatized wife who just ruined a perfectly good shoe with twitching bug legs and guts. I can never wear that shoe again, it must be burned. No amount of cleaning will cleanse it from touching the creepiest bug in the world. Jim is lucky that I’m not throwing the shoe at him, truly.

Last night, after a particularly late evening at work, I got home at almost 1 a.m. only to see one of those cursed jerks running across the floor. I started whacking at it in vain and Jim sleepily emerged from bed. “What are you doing out here, bowling with rocks??” He chastised me for making so much noise over something so silly and returned to bed. I figured it was high time to Google these things and find out what they are, what they want, and how I can make them go away.

Mike Dooley said at the weekend conference I just attended that he believes that the Universe has a sense of humor. He asked if anyone else thought the same way. I raised my hand. I’ve experienced enough to know that sometimes my answers appear in humorous ways and other times my butt has been kicked with a benevolent smirk from above. Yep. The Universe is a prankster for sure.

I read a couple of articles. To my chagrin, I have found no good reason to continue whacking and smashing these creeptastic bugs. Would you believe that they are almost entirely benevolent?! I’m freaked out by a bug who is actually keeping my house cleaner, because it preys on everything from spiders to ants, termites, and bedbugs. It even cleans its own legs like a cat. Its venom is rarely harmful to humans because it is too weak to pierce human skin more often than not. If you happen to find one strong enough, it will produce nothing worse than a bee sting-sort of bite. The only way to get rid of these things is to seal up cracks in your house, reduce clutter, reduce humidity, and get rid of the smaller bugs that it preys on. Jim is right that we live in an old house so cracks and smaller bugs are likely here to stay. We don’t have a lot of clutter or humidity.

GREAT. THANKS A LOT. Apparently, I’m supposed to learn to appreciate these things and not smash them while shrieking. I told you the Divine has a sense of humor. In my reading, I came across a tidbit that says that some people actually keep these things as pets.

I think it’s safe to say I’ll draw the line there.

Another New Agency!

ChristianaHeadshotWeb2

I have more fantastic news!

I have been signed to another new agency, and this time for on camera acting, theater, and voiceover. I am already represented as a model by multiple agencies.

This is a huge step forward for me and should mean a lot more auditions- which means That Redhead could be coming to a television near you. :)

Break open the champagne, kids!!

ChristianaHeadshotWeb1

Dealing with Setbacks

Oh, setbacks. They are inevitable. And completely unavoidable.

I have been frustrated with myself and a few situations out of my control lately. When I get busy and overwhelmed, I have a habit of shutting down, hermiting, and waiting out the storm. Perhaps it is my Capricorn nature, but I much prefer to crawl under a rock or in my cave and wait. Oftentimes, it is the exact opposite of what I should be doing and what needs to be done in the moment.

dealing with setbacks

Smiling anyway. Sort of.

In planning Jim’s big birthday I got a surprise from our landlord that upset both of us and made us reconsider whether we should even stay in our new home. All has since settled down and the party went smoothly and perfectly but to say that that rattled my cage is an understatement.

Jim has had quite an adjustment to this big birthday as well. He is still very much mourning the loss of his best friend who died shortly after we moved. That, coupled with simply getting older and experiencing a workout setback that comes from aging (you just can’t run like you used to) has provided me with some shoring-up to do of my spouse and his needs.

Then there are my own setbacks which are constant in my chosen profession. There is no predicting sustainable work and whether or not auditions will work out the way you think. I have signed with a new agency at the same time as I am waiting in limbo on another and have been freshly rejected by yet another. It’s a game of one step forward and three steps back. I’ve also had some continuing medical fun that renders me somewhat incapacitated every 4 weeks. There is an end in sight to that, so long as my feet cooperate and heal. The icing on the cake was the nasty cold that was going around that socked both me and Jim. I spent the past weekend lying on the couch feeling miserable.

And so explains the short radio silence here. I’m working on learning to write through these things instead of hermiting. It’s a process. The first step is to write about it afterwards; eventually I might be able to write real-time. I hope my lessons in coping, however small, might help someone else. :)


 

In the midst of all of this, it was easy to lose perspective and feel sorry for myself and sorry for “us.” Occasionally I’d slip up and do so. However, I happen to believe that that is a mistake. While it’s ok to feel crummy and sad and miserable, at some point there is a need to shake it off, snap out of it, and start counting blessings instead. No one can tell you when it’s time, in fact, telling someone who feels badly to “feel better” or to “count your blessings” ranks as one of the most insensitive things to say. Tricky business indeed!

Feeling grumpy.

Feeling grumpy.

Luckily for me, I have been down this road before. I have had challenges before and the best part about challenges and setbacks is the ability to LEARN FROM THEM. My brain (and heart and everything else) have learned when it is time to stop moping and feeling sorry and to press on. A little tough love and self-discipline is the key and also the part that is no fun at all, at least until you are on the other side.

Perspective helps.
Choose to take the long view rather than the short. Remember that everything is temporary and nothing is guaranteed. Keep the attitude of gratitude for the here-and-now and what you already have. Someone else, somewhere else certainly has less going for them and greater challenges. Perspective.

With every negative thought, I tried to replace it with a positive alternative.
The more negative the thought, the harder it is to do and the more practice it takes. Examples:

  • This SUCKS. I hate everything about this.  This is an opportunity to learn something. Keep your eyes open.
  • WHY is this person being this way? This is terrible!!  This person is only acting in their own best interests, same as you. Try to understand their position and have compassion. There is something to learn here.
  • I will NEVER figure this out and succeed!  You won’t with that sentiment. Let’s try again, or regroup and visit this another time.
  • My body won’t cooperate! I hate this part!  I send this part love and compassion instead and ask it to heal. I accept my body as it is and love it.

This can be exhausting, especially if you are in a particularly tough spot where these thoughts pop up every few seconds (or more!). I’ve slept a lot and meditated to try to balance the load, which throws off the balance between down time and work time. It’s worth it, though. I find that I am no good to anyone, including myself, if I am not actively working to be my better self and my healed and healthy self.

Be gentle with yourself. Accept less than perfection.
As Winston Churchill said, “When you are going through hell, keep going.”  Note that Churchill doesn’t say how you are supposed to keep going. He doesn’t say “Keep going and demand perfection and then get mad at yourself when you can’t keep up with everything at once.”  When you are going through a rough patch, keep up with what is necessary. That might be more than you can manage already, so give yourself some kindness and don’t beat yourself up in the meantime. If you went to work and paid your bills and made sure you fed yourself and your kids today, Congratulations! You did what was necessary. Everything else is negotiable.

Final step: Work to get OUT of the rough patch.
No one can tell you how long this lasts or how long it should last. You decide that for yourself, or factors out of your control do. The important thing is to move on and get up. If you do the bare necessities forever when you had the ability to do more, the guilt will catch up and stare you in the face and steal your sleep. Not that I would know about that. *ahem*  The ascension out of rough stuff could mean a major life shake-up with permanent change. It could mean getting up a little earlier or working harder. Whatever the answer is, it is out there and it could be the very thing you are avoiding doing. Not that I’d know about that one, either. :)

 

The challenges that Jim and I faced of late were really not that bad. We’ve had worse. We will have other challenges in the future, too, and some will be harder than this. There will be loss and adjustments down the road because there always are. But the better we get with working through them, the less painful the small stuff is. It becomes easier and faster to brush it off and keep going.

What are your current challenges and how are you coping?

New Blog Design and Layout!

I’m excited to reveal the rebranding for That Redhead! I’ve been working on a redesign for quite some time and looked at many, many different themes and layouts to get the job done.

Here’s a screenshot of the current homepage before I posted this update:

Modern Blogger theme from Pretty Darn Cute Designs. Genesis framework for WordPress sites.

 

In the end, after much searching, I decided to convert my WordPress site to the Genesis framework. I’ve heard nothing but great things and can now speak to just how easy it is to work with. There are many free themes available that work with Genesis but in the end, I decided to purchase a theme from Pretty Darn Cute Design and start customizing it. This was probably the most affordable way to go about a change like this, so long as you are somewhat web-savvy and can follow simple instructions. It was so easy and took less than a day’s efforts to make this shift with zero glitches.

I haven’t even begun to tap the full potential that Genesis offers, especially in terms of SEO (search engine optimization), but those are lessons I am looking forward to learn.

In my previous theme, I didn’t like that the sidebar and subscription button disappeared within individual blog posts and that isn’t an issue any more. I also decided the header, while cute, was a little too big and took up too much of the page, which is not recommended in any guide to blog design I’ve ever read. Problem solved! I might eventually come up with a custom logo but for now I am content with the clean lines and simplicity.

What do you think? Do you like the new look?

Sundress Remix thanks to ThredUp!

I’ve already written about how much I love ThredUp, one of the best places for high-quality secondhand designer goods on the web. That post is here.

I got an amazing like-new eShakti sundress and a Kate Spade wristlet from ThredUp recently for a lot less than new, full retail prices! What I love about sundress weather is how easy it is to style both a casual daytime look as well as a dressier nighttime look by merely changing the accessories. This is great if you have a busy summer schedule like me and are hopping from a brunch to a wedding on the weekend.

How to remix a summer sundress from day to night | That Redhead Casual sundress look via ThredUp | That Redhead Casual sundress look via ThredUp | That Redhead Marc by Marc Jacobs tote, simple belt, and Steven by Steve Madden gladiator sandals | That Redhead

The casual accessories are nothing elaborate: a tote to hold everything, a belt to define the waist, and flat, casual sandals.
Tote: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Belt: via Nordstrom
Sandals: Steven by Steve Madden (similar on sale)

Dressy sundress look via Thred Up | That Redhead Dressy sundress look via Thred Up | That Redhead Mint green Kate Spade wristlet via ThredUp | That Redhead Nine West polka dot heels, Kate Spade wristlet, J Crew earrings | That Redhead

To dress it up, I smoothed my hair into a very simple updo with about 6 bobby pins and an elastic. Then I added sparkly earrings, and substituted the accessories for dressier items that are sleeker.
Wristlet: Kate Spade via ThredUp (25% off 1st order for all new customers with code BEACH25, thru 6/30.)
Heels: Nine West via Macy’s (older style)
Belt: no label
Earrings: J Crew via eBay (I found more here!)

Easy and doable, right? Isn’t summer great? :)

Like-new clothes from brands you love! Up to 90% off retail.

 

*links contain affiliates. read more about that here.

Summer Layers

Smart summer layering for chilly nights and lakeside fun with That Redhead.

I can’t get “Summer Lovin’” out of my head! So I thought I’d pass the earworm along. ;)

Sometimes, sandwiched between seriously hot and steamy summer days, you end up with a cool and breezy day. Or perhaps you are planning on spending time near the water. Lake Michigan is always a little chilly, even in June. I like to layer so I can adjust accordingly and when I layer I love to mix prints!

Summer layering for chilly nights and lakeside fun.

Summer layering for chilly nights and lakeside fun.

Texture and mixed prints.

Summer layering for chilly nights and lakeside fun.

Striped flats from Banana Republic.

Mixing prints and coordinating manicure.

How much do I love that there are hot pink whales on that shirt? SO MUCH! Also note the “half-tucked” shirt. I’m a fan of this trick. It keeps the shirts looking neat and tailored in the front and keeps you lean and slim, but doesn’t add bulk in the back.

Shirt: Merona via Target
Sweater: clearance at Target
Shorts: clearance at Target
Sunglasses: Tory Burch via Nordstrom
Ballet Flats: Banana Republic (similar)
Manicure: DIY, tutorial HERE

Happy Summer Layering and cool breezes!

New Modeling Comp Cards! New Agency! New New!

Ah! I’m so excited I have to share all the good news. I just printed new comp (short for “composite”) cards. I had been agonizing over which shots to include and what format to use for a long time. I had a meeting with a new agency in Milwaukee called Ohlsson Model Management two weeks ago, and the extra good news is that they decided to sign me. The other, often uncredited benefit of meeting with new agencies is the fresh eyes on your portfolio that remind you what your best shots are and what you should be prioritizing.

Without further ado, the front and back of my comp card:

That Redhead, Christiana Herbert, comp card front. Always put your best face forward with your website and name!

That Redhead, Christiana Herbert, composite card reverse side. Always include stats, contact, and multiple shots!

 

The front of the comp card is usually a headshot and I’ve heard it recommended that it should be one without a lot of makeup where you seem friendly and approachable and easy to work with. Especially if you, like me, plan on concentrating more on lifestyle and commercial work which is nearly always very friendly-looking models. Your name and website are a good idea here, too. Without even turning over the card, the viewer knows what I look like, knows I have nice teeth (important in commercial work!), and can find me online to get in contact with me.

The back of the card is where the term “composite” comes into play. These should be good images that showcase what your body looks like on camera and your range. In this case, I chose a bridal editorial image, a glamour/beauty shot, and three commercial shots (one casual, one fitness, and one business). I also have all of my vital info (or “stats”) so that producers and casting agents can start to suss out whether I fit the image they have in mind. I NEVER put my phone number on my resumé or my comp card. If you are exclusively signed by an agency, list that phone number. But you never know where this card might end up once you pass it out so unless you like weird text messages and calls, don’t put your personal number on it. You can always write it in if someone needs it. Better safe than sorry, kids!

I must credit Birdesign on Etsy for the instant download that I translated into my own file via Photoshop. What a great layout. The print job was handled by Indigo Digital Printing, who I simply cannot recommend enough. They did all my wedding print jobs, too.

Yes, it’s true that many agencies are switching to a virtual format where paper comp cards are no longer needed. It’s arguable that a working model would even need them in New York or Los Angeles. Chicago is still a little traditional and I value being able to hand something out that has all my vital information. Furthermore, I am not done looking for agents just yet. I am signed with more than one agency and until I find the best fit where an exclusive contract is a good decision, I will keep sending out my headshot, resumé, and comp card. In paper form. To all the agencies I would like to work with. Often. ;)

So there’s my good news on more than one count. Excitement!

Thanks for cheering me on!

 

How to Keep a Clean House in 30 Minutes a Day

Today is a rainy and stormy day in Chicago. So let’s talk about chores, since I’d never waste a day of sunshine on such drudgery!

Before the big move to the north end of Chicago, the husband and I had a housekeeper. I miss the weekly cleaning she did. It kept us organized and tidy and released the time that usually is taken up by chores. However, it’s not free and in our new world order of pinching pennies where we can, we haven’t hired any cleaners in months.

That means we can either live in filth (not an option), or we have to work harder to keep up with the daily messes and find time to mop the floors and scrub the bathroom. Our first modus operandi of “wait to see who cleans the toilet first” is not recommended. I was always the one who caved. Similarly, Jim was forever cleaning up my glasses and plates that I leave around the house. Oops.

So, being the research nerd I am, I googled up a solution and came across lots of cleaning charts that promised to divide and conquer. None was quite right for our house so eventually I typed up one of my own, printed it out, and stuck it to the fridge.

 

How to Get A Clean House in 30 Minutes a Day.So far, so good. Instead of flapping around each day wondering what the most efficient use of time might be, it’s now already decided. It’s also up for revision, depending on what works best. I can already see that maybe I’ll flip-flop the kitchen and bathroom chores around since Jim is the King of the Kitchen and he has more time at home on Thursdays.

If you’re working on your own chore schedule, here are a few of my tips:

  • Decide what your standards are. Do you freak out if there are dishes left in the sink? Do you need to make your bed every day? Can you keep up with laundry on a daily basis or does it tend to pile up unless you buckle down and get a bunch done at once? Strategize these things for your “daily” chores list.
  • Think about your house. Is it easier to focus on one room every day and get it completely clean, or do you prefer to vacuum the whole house at once? You can see what my answer is. Since we have <2000 square feet all on one floor, it’s easier to wheel out the vacuum once rather than multiple times in a week. Your mileage may vary if you have multiple floors and a bigger house than me.
  • I prefer to keep the weekends open for yard work and bigger projects. You might decide that Saturday is another work day and to keep Sunday free. Think about your schedule and that of the family’s.
  • Divide and conquer. Group “like” tasks together. It might not seem logical to work on filing on the same day you polish all the mirrors in the house, but for me it has made sense to clear all the flat surfaces in one day.
  • Don’t overbook yourself. Think about what you can do in 30 minutes a day and do your best. I don’t have kids but when I was growing up, my Mom expected us to take on parts of the chore list ourselves, especially in our own rooms. Enlist help from the rest of the family and make it a family set of standards.
  • Don’t stress out. Life is full of variables. Things will shift and change. This past weekend, for example, we had multiple house guests. I’m still finishing laundry on Wednesday and I haven’t cleaned as deeply in the kitchen as I would like to today. The point is to devote 30 minutes every day to working on these chores so that they don’t build up and require 2-3 hours of cleaning in one sitting.

Let me know what you think and tell me about your cleaning schedule. How do you divvy up the chores in your house?

And let’s hope for some sunshine tomorrow so I can take some new photos! :)

 

Monday Manicure: Simple DIY Feathers Nail Art

How to do an easy nail art manicure via That Redhead. Simple DIY Feathers Tutorial.

Ah, it’s been too long since I did a Monday Manicure here. It’s also been too long since my nails were done! I blame the upheaval of moving and unpacking- nothing destroys a manicure faster so I decided why bother. That led to my nails looking like this:

Healthy, long, naked fingernails.

I grow some pretty impressive claws when I’m not keeping them trimmed and filed short (my preference) for regular manicures. Blame the avocados and almond milk, I guess. ;)

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to do something fun with my nails since we had an 11 year old girl staying with us over the weekend who is obsessed with nail art. I figured she would approve and I was right! (It’s so validating to be “right” to a pre-teen who usually scorns all things adult as “boring”). This is simple, as promised, and shouldn’t take much longer than a regular manicure.

  1. Trim and file nails as desired and push back the cuticles, cutting only the hangnails. Cuticles are important and you shouldn’t cut them off completely.
  2. Pick out your colors. I wanted the “feathers” to really pop so I chose white as my base. Pick colors that are complimentary together and ideally ones you wear often so your nails will coordinate with more than one outfit. As a redhead, I wear a lot of blue and green so I chose mint, royal blue, and jade.
  3. Do a quick coat of base coat. I like Orly’s Rubberized base coat.
  4. Polish two thin coats of opaque white nail polish (or the color you chose). They don’t have to be perfect but usually one coat isn’t enough coverage. Thin coats are preferred so they dry faster. (see photo below)
  5. Wait a couple of minutes until the base color is dry to the touch, then add your first “feather.” If you have experience in painting, you already know the rule of starting with the lightest color FIRST. This is important. If I had used the mint color on top of one of the darker ones, I would risk picking up the darker color on the brush and contaminating my bottle of lighter color. Plus, I wanted the colors to overlap and mint won’t cover the darker shades.
  6. I used the width of the nail polish brush itself to determine the size of the stripe, or “feather.” It doesn’t have to be perfect, which adds to the freedom of the design and also the ease of actually being able to do this yourself. Be sure to practice a few times on a scrap piece of paper to get the amount of polish right. When in doubt, use less since you can always touch it up with another thin coat. (see photo below)
  7. Do the darker colors and let your nails dry for a bit.
  8. Finish with a coat of shiny top coat, being careful to try to use as few strokes as possible so you don’t pick up the colors at the tip and then drag them through the white part of the nail.
  9. Enjoy the compliments on your fabulous nails!

Step One of Simple DIY Feathers Nail Art Tutorial. Two coats of white nail polish.

Step Two of Simple DIY Feathers Nail Art Tutorial. Adding first feather.

Final result of Simple DIY Feathers Nail Art Tutorial. Colors used from OPI, Essie, and China Glaze.

The colors I used were: Nina Ultra Pro French White, China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, OPI Jade is the New Black, and Essie Butler Please.

If you like this look, you might also like this look I did before: Mint and Blue French Manicure.

What’s on your nails today?