book review, history, review, television

The Bonfire of Destiny

Hello, everyone! It’s freezing here in New Jersey, which means it’s time to binge read and watch until I can go outside without 64 layers on. So between my usual book reviews, I’ll be sharing shows I think you should be watching. And if it’s based on true events, I’ll give you the real deal.

The first show? The Bonfire of Destiny.

Genre: Historical Drama

Where to Watch: Netflix

In 1897 Paris, the aristocracy has descended on an annual charity bazaar to see the moving picture show, shop with all their wealthy friends, and generally be seen. It’s just one of the many social functions for the French elite who have no idea, tragedy will strike.

Adrienne is the unhappy wife of a politician who mistreats her terribly. Although he has just sent their daughter away to boarding school to punish Adrienne, she must still make an appearance at the bazaar. As soon as she shows her face, she slips back outside and into a waiting carriage, safe from the impending flames. But she’s not free from danger.

Alice, Adrienne’s niece, is thrilled to go out on the town with her maid Rose, both to do some shopping and to see a man she’s had her eye on. Wide eyed and wealthy, she’s has a good heart and doesn’t expect one small fire to destroy everything. And as those around her being sifting through the rubble, she sees everything in a new light.

Rose the maid is gearing up to sail to a new life with her husband Jean. She’s fiercely dedicated to Alice, and even goes back into the building to se if she can save her mistress before the fire gets out of hand. She enters the bazaar a nobody, and like a Phoenix, rises from the ashes.

The mood is electric and stories are intertwined as a fire both destroys lives and gives the chance for new ones. As the show goes on, murder, intrigue, and secret affairs are revealed with death in the background.

Even if historical shows aren’t usually your deal, the soapy dramas and lovable, and hatable, characters pull you in. The voiceovers are immaculate, and every episode leaves you wondering when the other shoe will drop.


Onto the facts! Starting in 1885, the Catholic aristocracy of Paris held the annual charity bazaar. It was a chance for the wealthy women and their maids to socialize while giving back to a good cause. But in 1897, everything would literally come crashing down.

The bazaar that year was held in a wooden building, where the inside was transformed into a medieval Paris street with the use of wood, papier-mâché, canvas for a roof, and other various other flammable things. Scheduled to last for four days, it was expected to be a hit.

More than 1,500 people were in attendance on the second day of the bazaar. Even Americans and other Europeans came to see the sites. One of the most notable was Duchess Sophie, the sister of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. At around four thirty, the projector in the small cinema caught on fire. The fire burned hot and fast, rapidly engulfing the building in flames and setting the cloth ceiling alight.

There were several exits, but none of them were clearly marked, and some were hidden behind the decorations. Many ran for the main doors, which were soon clogged with people. There were men in attendance, who were faster and stronger than the women, who struggled to move quickly in their mass of skirts. There were reports of men pushing women and children out of the way to escape first.

This was before the idea of modern fire safety. There was a fire brigade, but no contemporary hydrants or way for them to really put out the flames. People escaped though some of the exits, though many of the doors opened inwards and jammed when frantic people pushed against them. Those outside broke out windows to help people climb to the streets. Most notably, the cook and manager of the Hotel du Palais broke bars off a window and saved over 150 women while also poring water down on the flaming bazaar from the hotel.

But the fire moved quickly and soon it became too risky to try to save anyone else. People, mostly women, were still trapped inside. Their skirts were flammable, many had been trampled, and the walls and ceiling were beginning to fall. The fireman continued to spray the building as those inside screamed until the only sound that was left was the crackle of fire.

In the end, 126 people were confirmed dead while around 200 were injured. Many were so badly burned, they could only be identified by their jewelry. Some dentists were even called on to identify their patients by their teeth, one of the first uses of dental records in the identification of a body.

The aristocracy, and the Parisians at large, we’re shocked and demanded both an explanation and justice. In the end, it was officially noted to be an accident. But the public still wanted someone to answer for the tragedy.

The President of the Charity Bazaar Committee Ange-Ferdinand-Armand, the Baron of Mackau was the first. His charge was negligence, as he didn’t hire enough staff or ensure the doors were clearly marked. Then came the cinema operator Victor Bailac and his assistant Gregoire Bagrachow. Apparently, the light for the projector went out and the cinema staff had to hurry to relight the small flame. But in their haste, a mistake was made as the match they used lit the ether gasses that surrounded them. Soon, the drapery caught fire and the damage was done.

In the end, all charged were set to pay fines, and Bailac and Bagrachow were sentenced to short prison terms. Items found in the bazaar’s rubble were auctioned off and the lessons learned from the tragedy resulted in better fire safety laws in France.


I hope you enjoyed this little look into The Bonfire of Destiny. Check back soon for similar posts on shows like Vikings, You, Daybreakers, Banished, and more.

New Book, New SHow, television

Gilmore Girls

We all know that Rory and Lorelai have taught us a lot. I think what makes this show amazing, isn’t just the lessons we learn from them,  but what we learn from the secondary characters. There are plenty of them so let’s talk about them.

Miss Patty- One of the beautiful things about her is her belief in love. She was married four times to three different men, and yet, she is alone now. Some people would be depressed, some would question the institution of marriage, and some would give up. However, Miss Patty celebrates love. She gets excited when Rory finds it and encourages, sometimes unprovoked, Lorelai to find it. As so much of this show is based off relationships, this hope is something we feel deep in our souls and to see it reflected on the screen is a constant reminder it is possible.

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Babette- How can we talk about Miss Patty without Babette? They are the dynamic duo. But I am here to talk about her real other half, Morey. I look at their relationship as a foil to Emily’s and Richard’s marriage. Both have been married forever and both are from a different generation than Rory and Lorelai. But when you see Morey and Babette, you see a very different relationship. Throughout the show, you see the consideration the two have for each other. Obviously, we don’t see them as much as the Gilmore’s, but I think it’s safe to say their relationship was a lot less intense. They seemed happy together and the perfect example that love and marriage can work when you find the right person. They accepted each other’s intricacies and loved the other more for them. I think it’s safe to say they’re relationship goals.

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Kirk- He was the child everyone had to parent. I would say people needed to raise him more than Rory. But he had an important role and I would say it’s to teach perseverance. He taught us more about starting over than anyone else could. I know one of the things that irritated everyone is that Rory seemed to give up on her journalism career and her wish to be a warzone corespondent. In contrast, there was Kirk. He tried everything to its fullest and if it didn’t work, he found something else to put his whole self into. Yes, Ooober was a disaster, but he tried everything and never lost faith that he would find his perfect niche. He got beaten down sometimes, but he always was able to find the positive in everything.

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Lane- Besides teaching us that dying your hair black is rebellious, she taught us that you have to be true to yourself. Lane, despite growing up in a strict Christian household, worshiped the gods of rock n roll. Why was this so important? Rory already grew up in an environment where she was encouraged to do whatever she wanted. Lorelai would support Rory in whatever she tried to do (except that whole thing with Dean when he was married). But the world isn’t like that. Moms aren’t like Lorelai so we needed the strict family dynamic to remind us that it is okay to hide cds in your floor board, and to follow your dreams, even if it goes against your family’s wishes.

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Sookie- I think that what makes Sookie so special is that she was passionate and weird, but also that she is the ultimate best friend. She loves Lorelai to no end and would do anything for her. Sookie is the best friend we all want to have. What makes her the perfect bff for Lorelai? It’s the weird. She is the perfect balance for Lorelai, who is generally the cool and exciting character we all love. Sookie, despite being pregnant, or a mother of small children, or busy, she always had time to listen to a crisis, to give advice, to provide a silly quip, or even to take her out for a girl’s night that turned into a regular movie night. At the end of the day, we all need a Sookie. Without her, Lorelai would be lost in the wild…

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Michel- I know what you’re thinking. If Sookie is the perfect bff, then what is Michel? Yes, he’s cranky, moody, over the top, and yet we still love him. So what does he teach us? He teaches us tolerance. There will always be someone in your life, in your circle of friends, in your office, or in your neighborhood who is a grumpy pants. But does that mean they’re a bad person? Does that mean you ignore them? No, they play a role too. Without Michel, I’d venture to say the inns would have been very different. He loved the girls with his whole heart and showed up to work every day. He hated people, something many of us understand, yet he worked with people every day. No one put on that fake smile better than him. People aren’t perfect and everyone can’t be a ray of sunshine. We need the grumps to complete the cycle. But man did he have a great sense of fashion.

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Jackson- The man behind the vegetables. Other than teaching us that four in four is a terrifying idea for the person who has to birth them, he showed us all that the third wheel is a thing and it’s something to be proud of. I think it’s safe to say that whenever Sookie, Lorelai, and Jackson did something together, Jackson was the third wheel. But he took it in stride. He loved Lorelai, and yes, sometimes he wanted her to butt out of his relationship, but he accepted her and accepted that she was important to his wife. He should be a reminder to men how important your girl’s best friend is and how she could literally shape your relationship. You should probably be nice to her, or at least make sure the zucchini you bring to the inn she manages is up to par.

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Mrs. Kim- How can we talk about Mrs. Kim if we talked about how great Lane’s individuality was? What we learned from Mrs. Kim is to be a savvy business owner. She was strict, tough, and provided a good product. Her store was open for years and always had beautiful fixtures in it. She was the original feminist in this show. Take that in for a second. Where was Mr. Kim? He wasn’t running the business. Mrs. Kim was and she did not let anyone push her around. Being a powerful business woman is a great thing for us to aspire to be. Yes, Patty did own her dance studio but she wasn’t nearly as ruthless.

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There are several other characters in this series. Obviously, we could talk about Taylor, and his insanity. But that insanity kept the town running smoothly and he usually had the best intentions. We could mention how Paris, though sometimes cruel but always brilliant, taught us the importance of loyalty. Or we could talk about all three of the top three guys and how they each taught us about love, life, and mistakes. So, instead of me saying it, you tell me. What did the other characters of Gilmore Girls teach you? What about them resonated with you or your life? I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

About Me

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I am a background investigator by day, and a romance author by night. My college series, Elton Hall Chronicles is available for purchase on Amazon in ebook or paperback. They follow three best friends as they learn about love, friendship, and life during their first few semesters in college. Let’s just say Rory would definitely blush while reading them but Lorelai, Miss Patty, and Babette would eat them up.

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First Semester- Amazon Link

Second Snowfall- Amazon Link

Third Wheel- Amazon Link

I also have a story in a “bad boy” romance anthology. Basically, a collection of all the guys you shouldn’t date but can’t help but love. It’s the collection for those of us that are “Team Jess.”

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Craving Bad: Amazon Link

Thank you for stopping by to see my thoughts on the series. I’m still devastated it’s over and I see both sides that claim another Netflix series is a good and bad idea. In the meantime, I’ll still be talking about it. To see my other thoughts… check out these other Gilmore Girls Posts.

Gilmore Girl’s Review

Gilmore Girls Revival Video

Ultimate Fandom Gift Guide

book review

Gilmore Girls Revival Video

I couldn’t help it! I made a video for Gilmore Girls because I just had too much to say. Also, we have a new youtube channel for the blog. Interested? Check out the link?

Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.

review, television

Gilmore Girl’s Review

Okay, I have waited long enough and I hope you have all (or at least those who are interested) seen the Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls. For those who haven’t, I recommend you stop reading because there will be a lot of SPOILERS.

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Heat Level: ♥♥

Genre: Netflix Event

Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers

The show starts in Winter where we see Rory Gilmore homeless and most importantly, underwearless. She, like many people these days, didn’t have the greatest experience in the job market and is now desperately searching for her place in the world. However, Rory is fighting to hold onto her old life. She keeps the same boring and forgettable boyfriend and is actively on the hunt for a job or work as a journalist. Funny enough, that was pretty much how the tv series left her before going off on the campaign trail. The only thing different, Rory has gotten a little lose with her morals.

I am not a fan of Rory and Logan spending their evenings together, if you catch my drift. I don’t think cheating is the way to go. It would be one thing if Rory didn’t know about Logan’s fiance Odette (love the name) but she does and chooses to ignore it. Then, the ever critical Lorelai doesn’t really say anything about it. At least when Rory and Dean had their slip, Lorelai laid into Rory. True, Rory is grown up. However, I didn’t ever expect for her to hold her tongue.

Speaking of Rory boyfriends, I have always been a fan of Jess. We see him later in the seasons and his book press is still going strong and so are his muscles. He looked good! There was a moment when he starred long at Rory without her knowledge, but that was it. Come on! There had better be more to that story! I am a hardcore Jess and Rory shipper.

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However, I think we all know the problem with them. Rory announces to Lorelai that she is pregnant. The interesting thing about this is that she and Logan were the last ones to be together. This of course was when they were saying goodbye to each other.  Lorelai kept making comments about the world coming full circle. Now, Rory is the one in Stars Hollow with no job, pregnant, and an absentee father. Heck, Logan doesn’t even live in the same country as her. Again, I hope that there is more to this story. That was quite a bombshell to drop right before ending the show.

But Rory did have her heartbreaking moment. Christopher has always been an anomaly to me. He always seemed like he wanted to be there. Then he shares with Rory that he wasn’t around because he didn’t want to fight with Lorelai because she was difficult. Rory finally heard the truth. He never fought for her and as a result, he wasn’t around. He made a choice and it wasn’t her. I don’t know about you, but I ugly cried. It was devastating to hear him try and explain away his actions. But the truth was, he still didn’t seem to find time for her.

Moving on to Lorelai. I did like that she and Luke didn’t feel the need to get married straight away. They were comfortable just being together. This is very reflective of the time. A lot of people think that marriage is a requirement but engagements tended to create problems for Lorelai. It was no surprise that when she and Luke decide to get married, they set the date for a month out. The best part of it all was how Lorelai came to the decision to marry. She became one with nature (sort of) and had a great introspective moment. She didn’t come to the decision lightly and she didn’t get cold feet. I think she was so sure about it because she took the time to live together and really learn how to be in a relationship. It also probably didn’t hurt that Christopher wasn’t around.

On to the wedding. This scene didn’t really make a lot of sense to me. I was waiting for Luke to say I knew you wouldn’t make it to tomorrow so I set it up early. How was her wedding perfectly set up when it wasn’t until the next day? Also, I’m gonna ask a question that will make me very unpopular. Where was April? Even when Lorelai was going over the list of guests, April wasn’t mentioned. Why have her in one scene, proving that there was a connection and then leave her out of their biggest day? I also wasn’t a big fan of the fact that Jess wasn’t at the last minute wedding. He and Luke finally seemed to figure out how to interact and he wasn’t called. They grabbed Michel from what I assumed would be his beauty sleep, so they definitely could have grabbed Jess.

On that negative note, I would love to talk about the wedding. It was beautiful and looked perfect. I liked the Alice and Wonderland theme. The gazebo was perfect and I had serious party envy. It was a beautiful moment between Luke and Lorelai and I was glad that they finally did it. Who hasn’t been cheering for them since the beginning?

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Now for Emily. I think she was my favorite part of this whole thing. She dropped that perfect facade and found a way to be happy. I watched my Nana struggle to do the same after my grandfather died and the acting was amazing. Nothing will beat her walking down the stairs in jeans with holes in them. I also loved watching her do the whale killing monologue. It was horrifying and fantastic at the same time. She finally moved on and was a whole new person. I loved seeing that and Kelly Bishop played out the emotional struggle wonderfully.

I realize that this was one of my longer posts, but is there any other way to talk about the Gilmore Girls? I enjoyed the revival and I really hope there is more. As of now, I couldn’t find anyone saying that there will be a second season but hey, we never thought that there would be a first season so who knows. But, you can bet we’ll talk about it.

This is just the beginning of my feelings but I felt they were the most important. What did you think of the show?

Kelsey and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.

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book review, outlander

Where Else to See the Stars of Outlander

It has been a struggle for us to deal with Droughtlander. All we can do is rewatch the series or reread the books. In an attempt to keep us all sane, we’ve found just a few of the several movies and tv shows starring the cast of Outlander. While it isn’t the same as a new episode, we will take what we can get.

Sam Heughan

A Princess For Christmas– I’m sure many of you have heard about this movie. Jules Daly is trying to make Christmas happen for her niece and nephew. However, since their parents’ death, nothing really excites them anymore. That is until a mysterious invitation brings them across the pond and into Sam Heughan’s world. I’ve personally seen this movie and it’s adorable. I plan to watch it many more times. Don’t want to pay for it? Then wait for it to come on the Hallmark Channel on October 30th at 12 pm.

You can rent this movie for $2.99  or buy it for $14.99 on Amazon

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First Light- Sam was also in a movie called First Light. This is about a spitfire pilot who entered the war when he was only 18 and how he heroically fought in the battle of Britain. It is a drama documentary and is not a Hollywood glamour version of the war. There is testimony from Geoffrey Wellum, the man Sam plays. Maybe war movies aren’t your thing? This would be a great movie to watch with your significant other. He can watch the war and fighting parts and you can watch Sam! This is trickier to find than A Princess for Christmas.

It is on Amazon in several third party versions but only on DVD. It is also available at FYE, which is a movie store. FYE stands for For Your Entertainment. I do shop at the actual store so I can vouch for its credibility.

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Sam has a couple other movies out but I cannot find a way to view them Legally. Those movies are Young Alexander the Great, Emulsion, and Heart of Lightness. If you know where to find them, then please comment on the post.

Caitriona Balfe

Caitriona has been in several movies and has held small roles. For example, how many of you have seen Now You See Me? She is in Michael Cane’s character’s entourage. She plays his daughter or wife. I didn’t notice this until I looked hard. The best place to see her is hen they are on the plane to New Orleans. She also has a small roll in Escape Plan with with Sylvester Stallone. Other than that, we have other places to find her.

Money Monster– This is a movie with Julia Roberts and George Clooney (do you need another reason to see this other than these two). Clooney is a tv star and Julia Roberts is his producer.An irate investor in a financial company takes over the show and threatens lives unless a conspiracy is researched and resolved. The lovely Cait is the spokesperson for the financial company that is being blamed for all the issues.

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There are some options to watch this movie. You can buy or rent a digital copy on Amazon or you can purchase the actual DVD.

Other than Outlander, I think that Cait is best known for her modeling days. Here are some of our favorites.

Tobas Menzies

Tobias Menzies has a lot of other credits. Any Game of Thrones fans? He plays Edmure Tully, Catelyn Stark’s brother. He is in eight episodes and looks even sexier. To flip to those episodes, he is in Walk of Punishment– season 3 episode 3, Kissed by Fire– season 3 episode 5, The Climb season 3 episide 6, The Bear and the Maiden Fair– season 3 episode 8, The Rains of Castamere– season 3 episdoe 9, Blood of My Blood– season 6 episode 6, The Broken Man– season 6 episode 7, and No one– season 6 episode 8.

You can buy these episodes individually on Amazon. HBO also has a streaming app called HBO Go that you can sign up for if you’re interested in watching the whole thing.

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He is also in the show The Night Manager. Let me tell you, this is going on my must watch list. The cast is filled with big names. Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie star in this spy thriller. Hiddleston is recruited by MI-6 to influtrate Laurie’s inner circle of his arms trade business. Menzies plays Geoffrey Dromgoole and is in episodes 2-6. It is a mini series, so he is in all but the first one. He plays a sneaky character as well, so I can’t wait to update you all on this show. Has anyone seen it? I’d love to hear your point of view.

This is available on Amazon.

mv5bmtk1nzkymtuyn15bml5banbnxkftztgwntm0nzm2ode-_v1_Menzies is in a lot of different TV shows, to include the Cold War episode of Doctor Who, with small roles. But he does have some new movies coming out like The Underworld: Blood Wars.

Graham McTavish

We are going to finish our list with the always sexy, Dougal MacKenzie or Graham McTavish. Did you all know he is the voice for several video games? He has worked on all different kinds and portrayed several different voices. He has been in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Assassins Creed III. Might be some fun knowledge to drop on the hubby giving you grief for watching Outlander.

For your Netflix subscribers, Graham has two different movies on there. The first, is The Finest Hours. Two oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard and the Coast Guard goes on a daring rescue mission. Graham plays Frank Fauteux, who is a veteran ship mate to the star, Chris Pine.

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It is also on Amazon if you don’t have Netflix.

He is also in Plastic. Two young guys infiltrate a credit card company but they’ve stolen from the wrong man. In order to get the money to pay him back, they need to pull off an amazing diamond heist. McTavish plays the head of an international business but is actually on the wrong end of the guys’ con.

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It is also on Amazon if you don’t have Netflix.

Finally, for those of you Tolkien fans out there, McTavish is also a dwarf in the movie series involving The Hobbit. He plays the fierce warrior Dwalin and is in all three movies. He is one of the 12 companions for Bilbo. These are crazy popular movies and you can find them in almost any movie store. Obviously, it’s on Amazon. However, they haven’t graced Netflix with their presence.

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Finally, if these movies and shows aren’t enough to keep your spirits up, there is this documentary. It is 92Y: An Outlander Evening with Series Cast, Author, and Producer. Give this a watch on a Saturday night when you’re feeling lonely. You can see your favorite stars and even here Diana’s answers to some questions from Cosmopolitan‘s executive editor.

It’s on Amazon.

While we know we only included some of the places to see our favorite stars, we’d love to hear about your favorites. Is there another Outlander star you like to watch in a different series? Have you seen any of these movies or shows and you’d like to tell us about it? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below or on any of our social media sites.

Until next week, here is a little knee porn for you.

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Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.

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book review

The Ice Queen

You remember our interview with Jamaican bobsledder Devon Harris, right? Well, Kelsey recently spoke with Olympian Jazmine Fenlator and picked her brain about her rise to Olympic fame, her plans for the future, and her New Jersey Pride. Bobsled pilot Fenlator is a beast on the track and an inspiration to all on the street. Did we mention all her fabulous awards? Well, they include two World Cups as well as a place in the 2014 Winter Olympics US team and a potential spot on Team Jamaica for 2018. We love hearing about talented women who go for what they want and come back victorious.

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♦Before your track coach suggested you go to bobsledding camp, did you have any Olympic aspirations?

Before my track coach Rob Pasquariello suggested trying out for bobsled, I had aspirations to train and compete in the Olympics for Track and Field.  I had hoped to be able to qualify for Beijing 2008, but knew it would be very difficult with my stats at the time and was looking to train for London 2012 ultimately.

♦What is a bobsled camp? Is that where the American Olympic team gets their members?

The USA Bobsled and Skeleton National Team hold a bobsled tryouts/camps every year in the off season starting late April through Mid-September. These are across the nation at different venues where they have developed partnerships with universities and facilities to host the event. A coach is always present and the tryouts consist of a combination of physical tests. In the beginning an athlete is tested in the sprints (15m, 30m, 45m and an additional 60m for the men ), Standing Broad Jump and the underhand shot put toss.  It is based on a point scale and if an athlete scores between a range that the team has deemed as potential, they are then invited to a longer testing camp later the summer/early fall to complete the lifting portion of the physical combine (3 rep max squat and 1 rep max power clean) and learn to push a bobsled and go through a bobsled 101 course.  These are the initial steps in the process for USA Bobsled and Skeleton in their recruiting segment. This process has evolved over the years and become more efficient.  It was a little different back in 2007 when I tried out, but is still very similar.

♦How did it feel when you made the 2014 Olympic team?

Making the 2014 Olympic Team is something, to this day, I don’t really feel like I can adequately describe.   worked my whole life leading up to that moment of being announced to the Olympic Team with the goal of, not just competing in the Olympics, but having an opportunity to inspire, motivate and achieve greatness while on the world stage. I am speechless to this day. It is almost overwhelming when trying to sift through all the emotions I feel and experienced.  I know though that my journey isn’t over and I have used that moment, and what it felt like, to carry my through the next 4 years as I train for PyeongChang 2018 Olympics.   

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♦What is your favorite memory of the Sochi Olympics?

Opening Ceremonies and completing the race seeing the crowd was incredible and memories that are forever etched in my mind.

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♦Will you be competing, or trying out, for the next winter Olympics?

I am currently training, and in the process of qualifying, for the next winter Olympics with Team Jamaica.  It will be held in 2018 PyeongChang, South Korea.  It is also the 30th anniversary of the original Cool Runnings’ 1988 Team and I hope to continue that legacy of history by being the first Jamaica Women’s Bobsled Team to compete.

♦I was pointed in your direction by Olympian Devon Harris, do Olympic bobsledders have a tight bond, regardless of nationality and competition year, or do you train together in the off seasons?

The Bobsled community is small.  It is not like you will run into a bobsledder at the grocery store, where you might run into a basketball player or soccer player.  Regardless of nationality, I have trained with, and have many, close bobsled friends that are on my specific team.  We help each other out when we can, give advice, hang out, but when it comes to competition everyone wants the same thing; to have the fastest time at the bottom and be on top of the podium.  We all know that and respect each other for the hard work and sacrifices each one has made to pursue the dream. 

♦Since you were originally a track star at Rider, did you ever think of trying out for one of the Olympic track events?

Since I was about 5 years old I had Olympic aspirations.  Back then, I didn’t really know what sport I would pursue. When I did realize it was possible, track and field was my goal. My journey led me in a different direction and I found bobsled, which I love and wouldn’t have it any other way.  

♦Where do you currently train?

I train where it is the best environment for me at the time to accomplish my short, and long term, goals. For the past few months I have been in Dallas, Texas. The weather is grea,t so I am able to train outdoors, get some Vitamin D (which is limited in the winter months), have consistency in the weather patterns, get a change of scenery and really focus on my physical and mental gains off the bobsled track. There is an ice house in Calgary and a push track in Park City, Utah that I plan to be training in the upcoming weeks, if funds and scheduling align for it to happen.

♦The official competition gear doesn’t look all that warm. Do you train in them, as well?

 Our official competition gear is not warm at all.  But we are only wearing it for about 2 minutes at a time before we quickly layer up again.  It is basically the equivalent to a swimmer’s or track and field athlete speed suit. We train in a onesie and have lots of layers underneath. The onesie looks a lot like a soccer goalie suit.

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♦What do you like to do when you’re not training?

When I am not training, I try to relax and recover in-between workout sessions usually by watching some Netflix or Hulu.  I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, taking photos, traveling, surfing (I am still in my learning and beginner stages), learning new things, dancing, and hanging with friends and family.

♦How does it feel to be an athletic inspiration to young girls?

I am so excited to be able to be an inspiration for young girls.  I always wanted to become something that young children, and even adults, could look to for inspiration, motivation, positivity, education, and more. I think in this crazy world, we need more people to use their platforms not just for themselves and their own success, but rather to build up the communities around them and help lay chief cornerstones forming a path for our future to use on their own personal journeys.  I hope to set the best example possible for self worth, determination, gratitude, pride, acceptance, giving back and being limitless.

♦Growing up, did you have an inspiration?

 I had a lot of great influences growing up such as sport idols, activists, successful business owners, charitable leaders, etc.  But the biggest inspiration of my life will always be my Mom

♦Is there any quote you live by, or tend to take to heart?

I am a huge quote person.   started a quote book in college where I wrote down quotes I loved, related to me, inspired me, motivated me, made me think, challenged me, etc.  I hope to turn it into a book one day.  Here are a few quotes that stay with me regularly;

  • “Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!” – Bob Marley
  • “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively” – Bob Marley
  • “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali”
  • “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. ” – Audre Lorde

♦What are you favorite books?

I am a little behind on the book reading. Getting two Master’s degrees back to back, I was a little busy focusing on all the school reading, but here is a brief list:

Mind Gym by Gary Mack

Cool Runnings and Beyond: The Story of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team by Chris Stokes

Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremow

Chelsea Handler’s Books

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

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♦Do you have any favorite movies, or shows, that you like to “binge watch”?

Netflix and Hulu are my best friends on the road.  Especially because I never know the local stations to watch my shows, this makes it easy to catch up, or watch at my leisure. The shows I recently binge watched this summer include Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Penny Dreadful, Marco Polo, Grace & Frankie, Peaky Blinders, and You’re the Worst.

♦You’re from New Jersey, my home state, so I have to ask, what do you miss about it while you’re away training, or traveling with your team?

Probably what I miss most about New Jersey while I am away training, traveling and competing with the team, is my Mom’s homemade cooking and Hugs. Home is wherever she is. My favorite part when arriving home is when I am flying into Newark airport and I see the Beautiful NYC skyline on one side and the Garden State on the other, just as the plane is coming into the runway to land.  

♦Subs or hogies?

Subs

♦Jimmies or sprinkles?

Definitely sprinkles and rainbow ones 🙂

♦I read that you’re currently back in school for marketing, do you plan on using your degrees once you leave the bobsled world?

I actually have already completed my degree. I currently hold a BA, Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement and Exercise Sciences, and just obtained my MBA last fall with a focus in Marketing.  I do hope to plan on using my degrees when I retire from competition. I want to pay it forward and help athletes, and the sport community, as well as dive into other adventures and goals I have that have been put on temporary hold while I focus on the Olympics and becoming a champion.

♦You live a very active, fulfilling, and interesting life. What are your plans for after you hang up your bobsled helmet?

After I hang up my spikes and helmet, I would love to stay very actively involved with Jamaica Bobsled and used the skills that I have, through being an athlete and my education, to help where ever is best needed to continue to grow our team and take to next levels of performance with winning results. I also have endeavors of starting my own business. Some ideas are in the works, and being formulated, but nothing official yet. I also would like to complete my photography coffee table book. In addition, I would like to travel with some of the charity organizations I have been affiliated to do some hands on work. 

Jazmine is an awesome, down to earth, Olympian who found her goals and worked hard to achieve them. But she’s not ready to hang up her helmet, just yet. With the 2018 Olympics just 4 years away, she needs help getting there. Contrary to popular beliefs, Olympians are not always mega rich super stars. Competitions, travel, and training can cost a lot. You can donate to Jazmin’s Olympic goal here.

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