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Dubai’s first hooping festival: Hoop-la Dubai

4 Jan

Hello loyal followers,

I know I have not posted in a while due to the chaos that is called the holidays. I have been living out of my car, people’s couches and in about 4 different cities over the past month, but I am far from complaining.

For the next twelve days I will be steering away from my normal health and science articles and sharing my experience working at Dubai’s first festival dedicated to hula hooping. That’s right, Dubai. For a girl who’s only adventure out of the country was an hour boat ride to the Bahamas, a trip to Dubai seemed almost impossible, until I saw an awesome opportunity on Facebook.

About three weeks ago, I read a post that was asking for two people who were passionate about hula hooping to travel to Dubai to help with the festival (mainly helping people who wanted to learn.) The job was unpaid, but the trip was all expenses paid. I had to go for it. After sending the email, writing a brief description about why I love hula hooping, and sending a photo, I heard back from Stuart at Dolphin Creative (the company organizing the event) saying I was chosen and I would have my flight details shortly.

Wow. That email came fast! I didn’t know whether to be excited or scared. My journalist cynicism kicked in and I worried that it was all a scam. After doing multiple google searches, I found out to the best of my knowledge that it was legitimate and decided to take a risk. I went for it, but the knots in my stomach from nervousness wouldn’t cease.

After a 22-hour day of traveling, with a layover in Germany (yay, two countries in one trip!) I landed at the Dubai airport, not knowing what to expect. Then came the passport line. I waited an hour and a half only to have my passport refused.

“It’s not going through the machine,” the man working the counter said. “Go to office number one,” he said.

I walked hesitantly to the office and handed another man my passport.

“Where are you staying?”  he asked.

Uh oh. Andy, another organizer of the event hadn’t told me the name of the hotel yet, mainly because the agency booking our flight and hotel was so last minute, what I’ve learned is a common trait in Dubai.

“Um. . . I’m not sure, someone is picking me up and taking me to my hotel,” I said.

After one more look over, he handed back my passport and let me proceed to baggage claim.

After I gathered my luggage, I went outside and started reading what seemed like a hundred name cards. None said Rebecca Burton. Once again, panic set in. But, after looking back inside I saw Andy, and recognized him vaguely from Facebook. We introduced ourselves, he handed me spending money and took Gabbi, the other hula helper and me in a cab to our hotel in Bur Dubai.

The first day of the festival was cancelled, which gave the performers (Lisa Lottie and Polly Macfarlane) and the hula helpers some time to get to know each other. We toured Dubai Marina Mall where we would be working, and then went to a bar in the middle of the water on Jumeirah Beach to watch the sunset.

Now that I have written probably way too much background info, we come to the first day of the festival. My eyes are closing as I am writing this, so my future posts will give a bit more detail.

But, the first day exceeded my expectations. Men, women and children of all nationalities and ages picked up hoops and were immediately inspired. Some, stayed for hours at a time, asking where to buy one. I know how hooping changed my life, and have always tried to show others how it can help their minds, bodies and spirits. I am truly blessed to have been able to spread the hoop love to a country  that perhaps has not had as much exposure as the  U.S.

Although my feet are aching and I am in desperate need of a shower, I am ready  to go back tomorrow and leave an impression on the Marina Mall patrons. Sorry for any typos/bad grammar/sloppy writing. It’s late, and I’m exhausted but I just had to share! Stay tuned for more stories of my journey, written more like a journalist.

Six word memoirs: Reflection

2 Oct

While this blog is mainly to share science, health or any other articles I write, it is also to share the journey of a struggling journalist. When I say “struggling” I don’t necessarily mean it in a negative way. The struggles I’ve faced have helped shape my life and get me to where I am today, and I can’t complain about the present.

To write was always my first passion, and since 75 percent of the birthday presents I ever received were journals, I took a hint and kept doing it. My reason for writing has changed somewhat. I used to write for myself and would only do so to reflect, put things in perspective and to organize my life in my mind.

Now, since I’ve gone through J-school I see journalism as storytelling for the public good.

As I was reading one of my journals (the one I kept the summer before I moved to Miami) I came across a page titled “Six Word Memoirs.” I remember writing that after seeing a book by the same name, where authors and celebrities were asked to write about themselves in six words. I decided to post the ones I wrote when I was 18, naive and a beach bum in Pensacola.

18-year old memoirs:


Will break curse by strong ambition.

There is no being too nice.

Restlessness will cause a fulfilling life.

The black sheep always breaks away.

Never judged, just refused to be.

She lived practically to be independent.

Change is good unless to conform.

Never was satisfied with stagnant surroundings.

While some of these may only make sense to me, the only one I would change is the one about being too nice. But then again, that’s a different story. I encourage any writer, journalist or even recent graduate who is undergoing a huge change in your life to try to write a few. They don’t have to be biographical. Use them to reflect, state life goals or even just for a writing exercise. You may be surprised at what you come up with.

Coming soon: 23-year-old memoirs.

Me…. on International TV!?! Hula Hooping pays the bills

25 Jul

South Florida hoopers appear on international TV:

(my recollection, in as few words as possible)

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A few months ago while I was finishing up my internship in Washington, D.C. I had a near anxiety attack thinking about how I was going to pay my bills and whether or not graduate school was a feasible financial option for me at this stage in my life, especially with undergraduate loans haunting me.

I picked up my hula-hoop, aka my zen circle and began using it as a de-stressor as I always do. I heard a notification sound come from my iPhone, it was a Facebook message from someone I didn’t really know. Christine Karaki, from the Miami Hoop Machine, was asking for 6 “sexy hoopers” to perform on a Spanish awards show to appear on Univision, and it paid.

Check out Christine’s blog post about the show here.

Continue reading

Every reporter needs a vacation

24 Jul

A vacation for me has always been a day at the beach, or lately half a day off of work. But earlier this summer, I was given the opportunity to leave the country for the first time ever.

Well, to the Bahamas anyway and by Bahamas I mean about 50 miles east of Miami to the Island of Bimini. To me, it was a big deal. Continue reading

Deep background, from the South to South Florida

22 Jun

Why a ‘struggling journalist‘?

My first blog post, “Where am I going with this?” explained the purpose of this blog and my journey to start my own media company, I decided to give a little more background information on me and where I come from.

For this, I am taking an excerpt from one of my old blogs, They call me Sunshine, ’cause I’m white. This was a blog I created during my multi-ethnic reporting class. Read on, if you wish.

Continue reading

Tip Analyzers, People Dissectors

22 Jun

People “In the Biz” are excellent judges of character, but sometimes that personality trait can be a fatal flaw. 

My junior year of college, I took a multi-ethnic reporting class. In this class I learned what it was like to report on different cultures, and the stigmas that are sometimes hard to avoid as a reporter.
In the blog I kept for this class, I wrote about what it’s like being a waitress and how we analyze people. I feel like really learning to read people in this business has helped me as a reporter, but sometimes analyzing people for the amount of tip they leave can cause me to judge before I know.
I wrote the post below last year, writing specifically about the stereotypes we hold. Be careful not to take anything too seriously, and check out my old blog, They call me Sunshine, ’cause I’m white, if you’re interested in multi-ethnic reporting.

Heat fans’ pride contagious

22 Jun

Heat fans’ pride contagious

Thursday started off just like any other double shift at Rocco’s.

I began my day with a coffee and egg and cheese empanada before the 12-hour workday, where I would either bank or bust. The morning showed little promise of more than a free lunch. With only three tables the entire day I went on my break, praying for a miracle.

It was Game 5 in the NBA Finals, and the Miami Heat were up by three games. If they won this one, the games were over and the Heat would take the championship title.


The NBA Finals gets restaurants in the area filled to capacity.

I really did want the Heat to win, since I am a four-year-resident of South Florida. But, if they won that meant no more games. No more big business, which equals Ramen noodles for severs in the restaurant business. A seven-game series is what I wanted. Continue reading

Rocco’s brings the heat, literally

15 Jun

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Starting off game two in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat was down one game.

The faith of Heat fans  was radiating, and Rocco’s Pizza lounge in Kendall was scorching with excitement. The  commercial air conditioner was not working in the entire building, but loyal fans continued to eat and drink and business carried on as normal. Servers were grateful for the dinner rush. Continue reading

Where am I going with this?

14 Jun

Here’s a little introduction……

What is LTMedia?

Laymen’s Terms Media is a startup media outlet, which like it’s founder, is evolving.

I am Rebecca Burton, a 22-year-old journalist who has a passion for science reporting. My goal is to articulate newsworthy scientific data to the mass media. I want to ensure there is no misinterpretation of facts to the public and policymakers.

My goal of becoming a science and health reporter began when I started taking introductory environmental classes during my undergraduate career. Hearing the numbers and what they meant, I wondered why some information wasn’t on the front page of the paper. I decided to get my minor in marine biology, where I focused on the conservation of marine life. Continue reading