Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope the annual turkey recipe spirits shined upon you and your bird is lacquered for the gods, side dishes are playing their supporting roles and the holiday sweets are in the wings for your grand finale. Light the lights! It’s showtime!

On this holiday, I encourage you to celebrate your blessings, your hard work and your commitment to living your best life. I will be reflecting on my victories and challenges of 2019 and how I rose to meet them just by being good with who I am, right now, in the moment.

A couple of weeks ago I documented my first night in Barbados to celebrate my amazing cousin Quinn’s fortieth birthday. With the support of her good friends and my housemates, my overindulgence was awarded the MVP of the night…still awaiting my plaque.

Our first full day in Barbados began with a gorgeous island breakfast prepared by our chéf. She gave me my full life with her airy and spicy fish cakes and expertly prepared scrambled eggs, fortifying us until our next excursion.

The organizers, Bob and Glen, planned a catamaran sunset cruise in the afternoon. This had a ton of moving parts including getting half of us from the house and the arriving batch of guests from the airport to the harbor. Once the lot of 24 was together we pulled off into the turquoise ocean. With our resident DJ Julie on the 1’s and 2’s (read: her iPhone), you couldn’t tell us we weren’t a Puff Daddy video from the ’90s, officially coined “Trap Cruise.”

Our second full day was just a whole day of chil-LING! We swam in that gorgeous Caribbean ocean right in front of the house, ate, swam to the bar, drank, ate, drank some more, swam back to the house…did I mention we ate and drank?

Friday evening, we drove up island to officially celebrate Quinn’s birthday at Dockside at 13/59 (Port Ferdinand Luxury Resort & Marina, St. Peter, Barbados) from the same owner of the popular Cin Cin. Bob and Glen planned a cocktail hour (more like hours) featuring a list of Quinn’s favorite cocktails––dirty vodka martini with a twist, cousin!

The energy was ebullient at Dockside and got turned up one notch higher when Quinn’s “present” arrived; her mom, Sylvia. Quinn’s waterworks began. A priceless moment. Dinner was soon served featuring some of chéf owner, Larry Rogers’, signature dishes.

Our last day in paradise was filled to the brim with absolutely nothing during the day, but limin’ (chilling), jet skiing, eating, drinking and swimming. We certainly were not prepared for the evening’s honor.

The celebration crew piled into vans in proper cocktail attire to travel to the family estate of friend, Stewart, and to a special opportunity to have an audience with his sister, the first woman prime minister of Barbados and of the Barbados Labor Party, The Right Honorable Mia Amor Mottley. We arrived seemingly at the most perfect time of day, when the sun was saying “ciao” and saluting our trip and of course the birthday girl too.

The evening was magical for many reasons but most personal to me was laying in the exact same spot my grandmother would lay every morning to take her tea while watching the ocean and her favorite palm tree, a tree I unknowingly admired prior. We love and miss you Nanna Rhone (aka Rie). Thank you, Barbados for many “best life” moments, Bob and Glen for planning, my fellow revelers for the laughs and testimonials and of course the spirit and life-giving force that is my cousin, Quinn. I love you. Welcome to your forties!

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback?  Invitations!  Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!