Mothers Caribbean Taste. Holly Ridge, NC

Mothers Caribbean Taste Experience!




BEAUTIFUL, quaint Restaurant serving many favorite cuisines of the Caribbean.
Being my husband is a native born Jamaican, I have grown a strong fondness of these flavorful dishes!
I ordered ackee and cod fish (aka ackee and salt fish) and it was perfect!
I spoke with Shimeal, MCT is owned and operated by her, her grandmother (cook) and mother. Mother travels to get seasonings and ingredients to keep the flavors as authentic as possible. MCT has been open for one month. Town of Holly Ridge loves them! The family traditions of serving wonderful food comes from priding  themselves on fresh cooked meals.
Upcoming in winter months jerk chicken soup, fish tea soup. Also often serves to accompany dinner in evening hours.

Grandmother from Bahamas came to visit and Shimeal took her around to Zaxby’s and Chic a fila and grandmother said “nooo, what are you feeding the kids? Nothing to eat here.” Shimeal asked what she wanted to do about it and grandmother said if she found her a kitchen, she would run it. In Bahamas, Grandmother owned and operated a food truck and restaurant that she has given to her children there and moved to bless Holly Ridge with a flavor so “RICH”.

Fair priced and generous, filling portions! Be sure to check out their FB & IG.

Be sure to swing in and grab a bite to eat and tell her that the “story girl” (Melissa) sent you.

Sailing The Belle of Topsail

The Belle of Topsail is an 1880’s replica of a turn of the century riverboat owned and operated by Captain/Chaplain David and Sharon Luther and about seven years ago, we took our first sail on The Belle. Oh but soon after that first sail, The Luther’s added an even more exciting twist to this lovely experience of sailing the intracoastal waterways in Surf City, passing right by the historical swing bridge, enjoying cool breezes, sunny days, breathtaking sunsets and if you’re lucky the river dolphins will be in action for a show in their natural habitat and then The Raven was born! Now, I don’t mean the bird, no Edgar Allen Poe here either, I’m talking about daring, dusty, thieving, murdering, fast talking and comical PIRATES on a Pirate ship called The Raven!!

The Belle has a full bar, the dinner cruise offered a self serve style meal option with an amazing Taco Bar and a good ol’ Sunday dinner feast option with pulled pork, mac-n-cheese, yeast rolls, beans and other helpings to include cheeses and a beautiful selection of fresh fruits to compliment any meal. There were also platters at the bar with a variety of nuts, pretzels and jumbo cocktail shrimp complimentary to everyone.

We moved away and returned to this area late last year and haven’t been on a date since and we really needed that fun time out alone, without kids, just to breathe, to talk and just be “adulting” because for Christs Sakes, no married couple or parents can say “Oh I Never Need BREAKS” unless they’re a bald faced liar. Anyway, moving on. I had been trying to get reservation for the cruises at Sunset for a few weeks but with life and schedule changes, we missed the opportunity because cruises sell out super fast! So make a note of that, “Book today, they’ll sail away”. We were actually passed the reservation limit but lovely Sharon keeps contact with those on the waiting list and will call or email if there is a cancellation that can serve your parties amount. There was just us two and there were three spots that opened up. Can you say, “Happy Sun-YAY!” for us!?? I was so excited like I had never been on this boat before and I will tell you why. See, some experiences are so scripted and uptight around some tourist towns, there’s no personality, no feeling like you are a part of it, like you’re just another dollar and viewer but this is certainly not the case with The Belle! From the Capt’ns Speech on locating your life jackets in case the boat were to sink in the 4ft or so of water we cruise in, informing passengers the bar will remain open upon event of sinking to the waterway’s floor to the very moment those pesky, scoundrel PIRATES take hostage The Belle… EVERY passenger will feel welcome, like you are on a family outing with family you’ve never met or haven’t seen in a long time and made feel at home aboard The Belle. You are guaranteed an original experience every trip that you will enjoy, I can honestly say, it gets better every year! (The ship has never sank by the way and no passenger has been injured or gone overboard.)

I was recently diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Chiari Malformation though the symptoms have been disturbing me quite a while. I really needed a breather, I needed to see the waterway for some salt life, I needed those laughs with and at David over the loud speaker and from the ships floor, I needed those hugs and warm welcome back from Sharon upon boarding, I needed those crazy pirates to come aboard and demand the loot aka “booty”, I needed the laughs of talking trash to the pirates by fellow passengers taken hostage and once they left back to their ship cruising alongside us with passengers I had never met from different races, genders, styles etc but joy and laughter sees no diversity especially on The Belle! They operate a business that is for everyone, young and old, abled or disabled, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, “no sailor left behind I bloody tell ya!!” This is truly an experience you will enjoy and remember every detail for years to come and if you have any ailment or conquering one, trust me this will give you a relief from the woes of life if even just at that time! I felt rejuvenated after sailing The Belle with my husband, just gazing into that gorgeous sunset, laughing with and at pesky pirates, enjoying a few margarita’s and making new friends. Yes, making new friends! If you are new to this area, maybe returning back to this area and nobody you know is still here, the friend connection is The Belle, I have made new friends every single time we have sailed The Belle! There’s just a personable, class act, Sweet Carolina touch to this experience that I cannot quite put into words that give it due justice, I do hope that my blog’s fan page live video on FB can show you just a window into this experience as well as the gorgeous sunset photo’s I will include below. But here’s a peak at the sunset beginning!

We love The Belle so much we originally planned our wedding on the boat but because we are in hurricane alley, Mother Nature insisted a cancellation because all boats were advised out of the water. You can plan birthday parties, anniversaries, business parties and meetings, weddings, vow renewals and other events all on the Belle with food, fun, music and the Captain is also an ordained minister so no worries of who can officiate your ceremony or maybe you just need someone to pray that you don’t knock that one coworker overboard! Seriously, I would certainly recommend this boat for any of the aforementioned functions, a date, when family is in town, a girls night out, night out with the guys, retirement party, going away… you name it!! I mean seriously, What kid (or kid at heart) wouldn’t go totally nuts over being a real pirate for a day celebrating their birthday?? I can’t think of many that would complain.
As we left the dock: Take off live recording
Check out this video of the Raven Pirate takeover for yourself with adults: LIVE FROM THE BELLE PT 2

Photographed by Melissa Oakley


****Disclaimer: This blog post is solely based on my experience(s) as a passenger aboard The Belle of Topsail. I am not employed by this business and am an independent blogger/marketing promoter.

When Rape is Acceptable.

Tonight on FB I shared an image from a radio station of a girl in a very revealing dress going to prom. (Note- this actually hasn’t been confirmed as to if she is indeed a teen and going to prom in said revealing gown which I will post somewhere in this blog post.) During discussion amongst FB friends, two commenters expressed commentary on “that’s how you get raped” implying wearing revealing attire is asking for being raped. I for one take the matter of rape, discussion of rape, potential rape, victim shaming and blaming very seriously.
See, I have experienced sexual abuse and even in a relationship or marriage there is no excuse for being raped. Whatever any female decides to wear or “not wear” doesn’t grant any other human, male or female permission to violate her sexually or to be more truthful in my opinion… doesn’t give permission for men to be violated either- yes it happens. This is like saying, “well she shouldn’t have been passed out drunk and wearing a mini skirt…she was flirting with him all night, what did she expect wearing that and flirting?” Oh we’ve heard it all before, lets be real. What did she expect? She expected to be free in expressing herself, dressing herself or lack of dressing herself and still being respected as another human being and being safe in her world just as she is. She expected to be young, stupid and free. She expected to be able to seek attention and hear she is beautiful because perhaps there is a void that hasn’t been sown into, she expected to be sown into spiritually and mentally not physically with unwanted, unwarranted and uninvited intercourse violating her mind, spirit and body leaving wounds that perhaps will be more than on the façade of her physical being, deeper than the surface of her smile now broken inside, scars that her spirit will never fully be able to hide.
When Rape is Acceptable.

It’s not! In no situation is rape acceptable. It doesn’t matter if a female is in sweats, a moo moo, a dashiki, a sundress showing every banging-boom-bop-bow of her booty and breasts leaving nothing for your imaginations interests, there is no open invitation, no auto pilot, no pass go and drop your pants and in you go! Sir hell no! Women are raped in various attire and it doesn’t matter if her clothes are skin tight, baggy or whatever. We have to break that idea that “she asked for it!” No, she did NOT ask for it! Usually when young women show more skin, they are missing something more than confidence, its deep rooted and a dry, dark space that becomes hollow, shallow and cold but feels nonexistent when the attention sets in. Seeking attention isn’t a request for rape. Seeking love, having daddy issues, having low self esteem behind a beautiful face, being the unattractive girl who gets caught up with thinking a guy sincerely likes her, being handicapped and not understanding what is actually happening… none are a request for rape.
When Rape is Acceptable.
When we tell women, young girls and even boys that if a girl dresses like a THOT or a ho, a skank, a lush, a trick, a tramp, whatever it’s asking for rape, telling boys that it’s okay to take a part of a woman’s body and sowing a poisonous seed of bitterness and abuse that grows a lifetime of pain is not acceptable. We cannot tell our daughters they dare to have phases when they see reality TV where sexual context is implied on every popular network, we cannot tell them they deserve whatever comes to them if they borrow their besties clothes that are more revealing. Even small girls clothes now are smaller, shorter, tighter, lower cut, crop tops for toddlers and all.. would we say that a 3y/o asked for it because she was in a 2pc bathing suit? I think not and oh, let me guess… that’s different, it’s her parents fault for buying it? No! It’s the rapists fault! Why do we blame the victims and steer from the fact that a rapist is a predator that violated another human being??

We cannot give our sons the idea that if girls dress that way they are who to rape and it is okay, that is also telling him his actions have no consequence and a woman is beneath him to be used, abused and mistreated at his discretion. We need to consider a reflection as society what rape really is, its not “just sex, she probably is a ho anyway or she wasn’t a virgin so it doesn’t matter…” It DOES matter and no means no!
I am so thankful that I have married a man that even knowing our bodies are each others to share for our pleasure and spiritual connection, no still means no and he has always been respectful of that. I am thankful that is a lesson being taught to our children that no means no, do not take advantage of any situation and engage in sexual acts that are abusive and never allow anyone to do anything to you as a girl that makes you feel remotely uncomfortable, as there are consequences. I am thankful that through past sexual abuse, I survived and today I know “When Rape is Acceptable”… in no circumstances is rape acceptable, no dress or dressing less is relevant.
The image from the discussion-

Now to just clarify because somebody is always trying to come for me when I haven’t sent for them or went for them….In no way am I condoning a teenager wearing this dress, as I find it unacceptable myself personally. I am simply stating regardless of what she is wearing or not wearing, rape shouldn’t be promoted as if she were to be it’s deserving. For all we really know, this is a grown woman going out on a date, event or the town. We have many who glorify Hollywood for “slaying” in similar attire but we are quick to go all the way in when our youth want to follow suit. Maybe we need to put more attention and pressure on their “role models” and idols they’re mimicking and looking to for fashion ideas and trends to better represent what we want them to become product of. Let’s face it, we’ve all followed fashion from Hollywood, MC Hammer pants, TLC’s Left Eye hair cuts, Aaliyah wrap hairstyle swooped over the eye and overalls, SWV block colors or camouflage prints, baggy bottoms and crop tops, wife beater tank tops and pleather pants, guys with high top fades, AI cornrows, take it back to the mall bangs like on every 80s-90s sitcom, attempts to replicate the “Clueless” classic schoolgirl look, daisy dukes with Reebok sneakers and puff ball socks, belly button rings, big box braids (patra) like Janet Jackson, nose piercings like Mary J. Blige until the mid 90’s when the tongue piercing trend came through like a hurricane, Christina Aguilara had all the white girls doing block hair color and under layer color wearing midriff tops and getting belly button piercings on spring break. We did it in the 80’s and 90’s only now there’s a new level of devils and even more dangers accessible than when we were younger. The most internet we had was at school and limited unless you had lovely dial-up but that’s a whole other blog post in itself. We have to be vigilant over our youth and what idea’s we give them in our conversation, lessons and trends. In anything, at no point is rape acceptable regardless of trends current or years passed. Oh, and for a refresher let’s look at just a little on recent years past.










Back the Bus.

Early on the morning of March 27, 2017 one family faced a horrific tragedy, an entire community feeling affect, a student body of a local high school mourning and some of those students on a bus traveling to school witnessed a careless act leading to death of a friend, a neighbor, a classmate.
From this horrific event, our community is outraged and rightfully so. Even more so, we are uniting and standing together to ensure there will not be a repeat of tragedy for any child or family.

Many mornings and afternoons people across the county have witnessed vehicles not stopping for school busses that are at a complete stop, sign out, lights on, all indicating that there is a child loading or being dropped off at their neighborhood stop point. NC G.S. 20-217 (a) states,

§ 20-217.  Motor vehicles to stop for properly marked and designated school buses in certain instances; evidence of identity of driver.
(a)        When a school bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, the driver of any other vehicle that approaches the school bus from any direction on the same street, highway, or public vehicular area shall bring that other vehicle to a full stop and shall remain stopped. The driver of the other vehicle shall not proceed to move, pass, or attempt to pass the school bus until after the mechanical stop signal has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off, and the bus has started to move.”
The first issue in this case is this very law is discussed and required to answer questions on, (or was before in some form) is on the NC drivers license test and in other states as well. This is a general requirement in every state. In NC, BOTH DIRECTIONS OF TRAFFIC MUST STOP FOR A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS:
1. On a two lane road;
2. On a two lane road with a center turn lane; and
3. On a four lane road without a median.
1. Divided highway with 4 lanes or more with median separation; and

2. Roadway of four lanes or more with center turning lane.

To say it briefly, if you are on a 2-lane and a bus stops, blinking lights on, puts out a stop sign, STOP!! There’s no yield, there’s no hurry up and go, there’s no go slow past the bus! STOP! STOP! STOP! It is not relevant to what side of traffic you are on, you have to stop. If you are on a 4-lane and BEHIND the bus, you have to stop regardless of whether there’s a median or turn lane when the lights on the bus come on, the stop sign comes out and the bus is stopped. However, when on a 4-lane road in the opposite direction of the bus, you only stop IF there is no median or turn lane. (

If you need a visual, the graphic above hopefully can help you gain a better understanding and remember this very important information that can save lives, protect drivers from making life changing errors. For more information visit the North Carolina School Bus Safety Website.
So, what can we do from here to better warn, alert and give drivers a better notion to STOP and when? I know, some of you- like myself, will say, “It’s a huge, yellow bus with lights blinking and a stop sign and we’ve only learned to stop for busses practically our whole lives considering the majority of us have rode one at some point in life.” But, we obviously have a problem now even with this experience, people are passing busses that are stopped in oncoming lanes loading or dropping children off. Moving on, 5 N.C. districts were given stop sign cameras to test out from an article on
Who can we contact/call?
N.C. Senate
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 300-B
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
(919) 715-3034

If we cannot obtain results by utilizing political points of contact, he owns a car dealership.

2223 N. Marine Blvd., Jacksonville, NC 28546

Phone 910-347-3777

2. NC House Committee on Transportation meets on Tuesday’s. “Click” here for the list of members.

3. Onslow Co. DOT “Click” highlighted area for a comment box. General questions are answered Monday-Friday 8a-5p. Call Customer Service office at (919) 715-7000.
4. Onslow Co Purchasing Department
234 NW Corridor Boulevard
Jacksonville, NC 28540


Phone: 910-455-1750


Fax: 910-455-3024
This department is responsible for purchasing within ANY department. So, I feel it’d be worth a shot to contact (which I plan to do myself also but there’s power in numbers) expressing the need for Stop Sign Cameras for our buses.
5. Board of Commissioners:

         Jack Bright, Chairman

         Royce Bennett, Vice Chairman
         Paul Buchanan, Commissioner
         Robin Knapp, Commissioner
         Mark Price, Commissioner

6. Section Chief, Transportation Services
N.C. Department of Public Instruction
6319 Mall Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6319

Phone: 919-807-3579
Fax: 919-807-3578

Former Section Chief Derek Graham retired. When the cuts in the bill proposal that would hurt bus funding came up just a few years back, he said in an article with WRAL, ““We’re well aware of some of the differences that take place across the state. This bill would require that we develop a policy that would need to include such things for part inventory,” says Derek Graham, Section Chief, Transportation Services at the Department of Public Instruction.” Now Kevin is his replacement and should be of service in this area.

Local leaders reach to state leaders, state to obtain the federal help as needed if needed. It’s our duty to be heard in this in as many ears as possible.
As I find more information, I receive responses from offices and leaders, I will share that via a blog post or Facebook post on my blog page A Mel’O Theory.

I’m an independent writer (blogger) who writes on various topics as I wish to, whether it be product reviews, community or national issues, hot topics, current events or simply subjects I may be passionate about. The above written context includes information I have researched on my own, websites and sources included with highlighted links that will route you to the original source to obtain a deeper understanding of the information I likely have paraphrased yet not altered the intent of the context conveyed. I am not legally responsible for any individual who may read this or articles mentioned and fail to comply with any NC or other state driving laws and encourage each person to be certain in understanding and knowledge of bus and all other laws per state you are driving in as you do so. I am not receiving any financial support or monetary gain by providing this information herein this blog posting nor am I affiliated with, employed by or a member of any organization listed in this publication.

#BackTheBus -MelOTheory