Mini-Haul // The Shop

I popped into The Shop at The Normandie Hotel on Friday evening with every intention of grabbing my mom a Mother’s Day gift.

I left with a bag full of stuff…none of which were for my mom. Usual behaviour.

The Shop has really expanded its stock of local vendors considerably since it first opened.

It’s so refreshing to me to be able to find new artisans that I haven’t heard of before. I honestly fell off the local market scene for a bit because I began feeling like I had seen and experienced all there was to experience. Visiting The Shop showed me that there is still a lot left to discover, and new artisans are emerging every day with products that are just as impressive as the ones I’m used to.

Anyway, let me show you what I grabbed.

IMG_9853

ESPJr Snow Cone Onesie – TTD$125

My Uncle Chris, who lives in Holland, is expecting his first child in July. I figured that he, like all displaced Trinis, will be wanting to dress up his baby in Trini paraphernalia. ESPJr’s Mini Trini onesies are the perfect, non-cliché identifiers of the offspring of Trinidadians everywhere.

IMG_9858

Wholesome You Oatmeal and Walnut Exfoliating Cleanser – TTD$125

I’m not nearly as into skincare as I should be. I suppose that’s because I don’t really have much problems with my skin, so I’ve taken it for granted.

Recently I’ve noticed my skin is getting much oilier than I’m used to, and I’m not sure why.

I saw this brand Wholesome You at The Shop and decided to give them a go, seeing that I’d never purchased it before.

This Oatmeal and Walnut Scrub is made “for gentle exfoliating to rid of acne, scars, excessive oil, it also tones, safely cleanses your skin and much more.”

IMG_9855

Wholesome You Clove and Rose Facial Mist – TTD$70

Totally new product for me to try. I’ve never bought or used any kind of facial mist before. This one “is perfect for hot sunny days as it soothes and cools you down while your exposed to the sun or after. It also has antibacterial properties for the flu season and it cleanses and hydrates your skin on the go!”

Sounds good to me. I thought the smell of the clove would be off putting but it’s actually not bothersome at all. I actually quite like it.

IMG_9854

Tea-licious Chocolate Mint Black Tea Leaves – TTD$65

I am a tea stan. I love tea. I also love loose leaf tea and got a tea maker from my friend Sean over Christmas so I can make pretty sweet cups of loose leaf tea.

Mint tea is one of my favourites, so when I saw Tea-licious CHOCOLATE mint tea I was like nah…gotta have it.

I’ll be trying this tonight while I take in some Game of Thrones so I’ll let you know how it goes.

IMG_9857

Cocoa Vintage Ceramic Cocoa Studs – TTD$100

Long love Cocoa Vintage and her amazing jewellery. I saw that she had done a plethora of new ceramic pieces (they’re all amazing by the way) and was all too happy to grab up this pair of dainty cocoa pod studs. The ends are gilded as well to add a bit more dimension to the earring. For some reason my ears haven’t been playing nice with longer, heavier earrings so I was glad to see some nice small studs that I could buy. New every day earrings perhaps?

IMG_9856

There ends my mini-haul.

I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you take the time to pop in to The Shop to take in some of the best that local has to offer.

Thoughts // On Dating

When did ‘dating’ become a thing in Trinidad?

Well…depending on who you ask…dating has always been a thing in Trinidad, we’ve just always called it by another name (make that no name at all), or neglected to distinguish between the different sub-categories of dating, which apparently exist.

Now, I’ve always known it must be possible to date in Trinidad…and back when I was a teen I’m sure I would have called it ‘dating’ when I was hanging out/hooking up with a boy I didn’t want anyone to refer to as my boyfriend.

Is that what dating is now? The arm’s length we keep potential significant others at because we just can’t deal with the commitment? Well…this person is cool…but do I want to have obligations to them? Do I want them to have a say in my life – like how my free time is spent, or whether or not they can share my food?

Well, no. My friend Mel  theorises that there are three categories of dating:

1) Dating just to pass the time. You’re not emotionally invested in this person. You just casually go out from time to time, have a few good conversations if you’re lucky, maybe fuck, maybe not, whatever. It’s no biggie and when it’s done you hardly miss it.

2) Dating to assess whether someone is a suitable candidate for a relationship. This is the probation period where you like this person but before you dive in head first, you want to make sure they won’t murder you in your sleep. At least not right away. Either person may choose to see other people at the same time. Some toting may be involved if shit goes left.

3) ‘Dating’ ie that is my man and this is my woman. Exclusive relationship here folks.

So, apparently those are all the potential definitions of ‘dating’. My understanding has always been #3. It’s what I’ve always done. I see you, I like you, I make you my boyfriend. Talk done til you fuck up, I find out you’re insane, or I get bored.

But now, basking in all the wisdom that has washed over me since I’ve been flying solo, I’ve begun to reassess my approach.

dating1

Perhaps I should be more discriminating. Perhaps I should take a stab at this dating thing, the one where I actually put people on ice for a bit before I claim them.

Experience has dictated that people are duplicitous as all hell. One thing to your face and an entirely different person once you turn your back.

If there was some way to figure out what someone’s problem was, before you’re in too deep, wouldn’t you want to take it?

It all sounds like a no-brainer, right?

So what’s my problem?

Well I have several. Lol.

First and probably most basic is…I’m not entirely sure I know what a date is. Like when does it stop being two people just hanging out…and wander into date territory? Or was it never just hanging out, it was actually dating the whole time and I just don’t know?

dating3

And it also doesn’t help that unsolicited male attention borderline terrifies me. Worse yet when it’s supposed to be your friend…then all of a sudden you getting track and it’s like what just happened? Ah! This is scary.

I’m an incredibly awkward person when it comes to navigating that kind of social territory. If you ask me out unexpectedly I immediately go into a panic spiral and talk utter garbage in an effort to get myself out of it. Smooth, this one…smooth.

dating6

Another burning question: how do people find time to date multiple people? Like…where do you find the hours? Between work, gym, sleep and Netflix, and the time I try to set aside to see my friends, I couldn’t fathom finding the time to see multiple yet-to-be-determined-essential people. Also…how does that work? You play emotional Russian roulette and hope you win somehow?

I guess I’m not good at doing anything halfway, so when I invest time in someone, I invest TIME in someone. And energy. Splitting up that energy and sending it off with different people seems like a colossal waste, and an exhausting endeavour.

Props to all the people who can do it and maintain their sanity, but I’m not entirely sure it’s for me.

So then how DO you invest said time and energy into just one person…AND manage your expectations well enough that if shit goes left and you realise this may not work, that you don’t feel just as badly as you do after a breakup? I mean…you may not feel AS badly…but I’ve been floating happily here in this nice emotionally neutral, completely drama-free single life that even the slightest disruption, I think, will feel pretty lame.

Managing expectations has always been a challenge for me. I constantly expect the same of other people as I do of myself. What I put out, I usually expect to get back, and that happens maybe one out of every ten times in my life, lol.

This year was meant to be my exercise in learning to have less expectations…but I’m not too sure how I’m meant to do that if I don’t engage in any activity that tests said ability.

datemyself

Meh, this is tricky.

Truth be told…I’m…scared? Is that the word? I don’t know…maybe. Wary. Let’s use wary.

Cliche as all hell but true – I’m very wary of getting close to anyone right now. I’m very wary of giving an actual shit about anyone that isn’t me or my best friends (you bitches know who you are, don’t start me).

I really wanted to finish this on some profound note.

Writing this has been difficult.

Mainly because I think I still am not 100% sure how I feel about any of it.

However, let me leave you with the three most valuable lessons I got from my Facebook poll:

1) Communication is key. Be very clear about what you want and do not want. What you are doing and what you are not doing. What you expect and what you do not expect. Everyone may not end up on the same page after all is said, but that’s better than a shit ton of mixed signals and blurred lines.

2) Leave physical intimacy out of it unless you’re certain it won’t impair your judgement or decision-making ability. Spoiler alert: if you have a vagina, it probably will.

3) Manage your expectations. Don’t go planning your life with this person when you’re not even sure they’re feeling you the same way. Just be chill, try to relax and take it one day/date at a time. Easier said than done of course, but it seems like a pretty important part of this new age dating game people are so taken with.

dating5

I think I’m done. If I decide I’m not…I’ll be back.

Photo Journal // St Vincent & The Grenadines Part Deux

Day 2 – Bequia

The highlight of my trip was most definitely my visit to Bequia. For whatever random reason I’ve always wanted to visit Bequia, so even when the sky was behaving quite schizophrenic on Saturday morning, I was super stoked to hop aboard the 8am ferry with Odini, Kern, Louis, Karen of SoKa and Jeremy of Fashion is Payne to Bequia.

The ferry itself is an hour-long ride and EC$45. Not too shabby to get to paradise.

P1000188

Wut?

P1000187

I love the colours in St Vincent.

P1000190

Once we disembarked (Odini didn’t get sick, much success!) we trod off in search of breakfast. Odini seemed hell bent on acquiring Mac’s Pizza, which was of course closed when we got there, so we opted for breakfast from the Gingerbread House instead. Not too bad, a bit pricy but such is life when the main clientele of a place is comprised of yachties.

 P1000198 P1000196

Instead of the recommended gingerbread, I opted for a shortbread cookie, a macchiato and some waffles which turned out to be pancakes.

After everyone finished eating we set off again to Princess Margaret’s Bay, which is a relatively short walk from the harbour.

P1000201

Just down some stairs…

P1000203

And around a bend…

P1000206

And then you’re there!

P1000209

One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Bequia was everything I was expecting. The only thing that could have made it better was if the water wasn’t so blasted cold, and if the wind didn’t keep blowing sand all over my face every time I tried to sun worship.

Processed with VSCOcam with kk2 preset

If you look closely you can see the entire right side of my face (my right, not yours) is completely covered in sand.

P1000212

P1000216

Following some spelunking at a cave near the end of Princess Margaret Bay, we decided to head over to Lower Bay next.

P1000220

People who live in St Vincent have NO excuse not to have amazing legs…everything is a climb boy…

IMG_9410

But then you get where you’re headed and it all seems worth it.

P1000221

For those of you who were wondering, we did eventually get Mac’s Pizza, on our way back to catch the 4pm boat back to the mainland. Entirely too short a stay in beautiful Bequia, but good company, good food and gorgeous surroundings can make the time fly.

P1000226 P1000228 P1000229

Some pretty good pizza to end an amazing day…like the boat said ‘No Complain'(ts).

Now when the world gets me down and I go to my happy place in my head, I’ll be in Bequia, xoxo.

Photo Journal // St Vincent & The Grenadines Part Un

So this weekend I hopped across to St Vincent and the Grenadines, mainly to visit my friend Odini (you may know her as the mastermind behind menswear label Peta Odini) but also to scratch an item off my bucket list – to visit Bequia.

When my obsession with getting to Bequia began, I’m not quite sure, but it’s been on my to-do list for quite some time now. When LIAT had a sale on fares earlier this year I rather spontaneously booked a flight for the same time I knew Odini would be home.

Our mutual friend Kern (check out his T Shirt line Shop F.A.W.) decided to beat me back on spontaneity and booked his ticket to come with, like, 2 weeks before I was scheduled to head up.

Day 1 – Jack Sparrow Tours

On Friday we met our tour guide, Iston, of Jack Sparrow tours for a full day of traversing the Leeward side of the island – from Fort Charlotte to Wallilabou to Dark View Falls near the town of Richmond.

P1000151

Fort Charlotte is small, but packed with history. Commissioned paintings show the bloody history of the Black Caribs, the French and the English as they battled for dominance of the island. You also see how the Free Slaves came to the island and settled. A really creative way of depicting the history of the island. I thoroughly enjoyed following the story through the art.

P1000154

The view from Fort Charlotte was stunning.

IMG_9321So this may be a smidge controversial, but along the Leeward coast, we stopped at a food truck near the fishing town of Barrouallie to sample the ‘black fish’ or pilot whale, which is still hunted in St Vincent. The meat itself had a texture reminiscent of smoked herring, but it obviously wasn’t smoked. Delicious really…and the yam and coconut dumplings were a great accompaniment.

P1000155

Next we headed up to Wallilabou Bay to check out one of the sets of Pirates of the Caribbean. They shot the scenes for Tortuga here, and there are a few props and scenes left behind that conjure up images from the movie in your mind. I kind of feel like I have to watch the movies again now. Our tour guide Iston was actually an extra in the films so he was super excited to introduce us to his former place of employment.

P1000161

A selection of coffins. Apparently these are from the scene where Jack Sparrow shoots himself out of a coffin while in Tortuga.

P1000166

We finally arrived at the Dark View Falls near the town of Richmond. This is after our tour guide stopped by some friendly neighbourhood dealers and grabbed a handful of very green Vincy (that’s marijuana) to show off to our British tour-mate. Anyway, Dark View Falls are gorgeous, but FREEZING cold. In fact all of the water in St Vincent seems to be freezing cold, but the Falls took WIN. We braved the cold water because we’d come too far not to. There you can see Louis (Brit) enjoying the refreshing pool while Kern and I contemplated how best to approach this popsicle situation.

P1000169

Too late to turn back now…

P1000171 P1000173

P1000176

Eventually we trekked up to the second falls higher up. My feet were NOT happy about what was essentially a hiking expedition over spiky ass rocks and cold ass water. My feet kept cramping up every time I stopped moving. I took my time, hence Kern is standing there like ‘Wtf woman, hurry up!’

IMG_9349

Small thing though…waterfalls are awesome photo ops, made marginally more awesome by selfie sticks.

IMG_9360On the way back from the Falls we stopped at a restaurant where I finally got to taste the infamous and much-lauded Hairoun Bitter Lemon. Fun fact: Hairoun takes its name after the Kalinago word for St Vincent, which is Hairouna. The actual brand dominates in St Vincent – their branding is EVERYWHERE and it seemed to be a fixture in every shop and restaurant. Also…quite delicious.

Stay tuned for Part Deux where I take you to the GORGEOUS island of Bequia <3

Out & About // Meet Me at Fanatic – ‘Fresh”

It’s Lent y’all. Time to purge the sins of Carnival away with our seasonal stint of devotion and piousness (kind of).

In keeping with the holy season, Sean decided to throw a vegetarian edition of Meet Me At Fanatic – out with the meat and in with the veggies (and a touch of fish, I guess for the people who think fish isn’t meat).

I don’t eat beef nor pork, and my best friend Sandi is pescetarian, so we both left the event feeling WAY more full than we normally do, since this was the first Fanatic that we could actually eat every single dish. Those small bites add up in a big way when you’re not looking.

Ambience wise, the crowd was noticeably less thick than I’m accustomed to, but the good thing about that was I didn’t have to elbow anyone in the face for taking my seat (which Sean constantly forgets/declines to reserve for me). DJ ShyGuy, as usual, kept the vibe up with a mix of his house, lounge and soca music.

P1000107

Drinky drinks. Cucumber and mint martini to fit in with the night’s theme of ‘Fresh’.

IMG_9257

Cous cous galette with mushroom ragout, topped with goat cheese.

IMG_9260

When I saw cassava ceviche on the menu I was perturbed. A ceviche with no fish? Quel horror! It was actually probably one of the most delicious dishes of the night. IMG_9264

Phyllo pastry stuffed with mushrooms, olives, spinach and raisins and drizzled with an agro dolce sauce (sweet and sour for us native english speakers).

IMG_9266

Super delicious lentil and roast corn patty atop a fennel-scented bun. Those kale chips on the side were the bomb dot com.

IMG_9273

We also got a nifty recipe card at the end of the event with the recipe for the patty.

IMG_9269

A smoked salmon and cream cheese roulade. My least favourite dish of the night, but only because I despise cream cheese. The reviews from the cream cheese lovers were great though.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any snaps of the spinach and mushroom fettuccine, or the desert, which was fruit clafoutis, but they were both God damned delicious.

To maybe make up for that (not really, I know) here are some bonus shots of the prep/plating:

P1000121 P1000111 P1000104

Thoughts // On being ‘alone’

I’m what you’d call a serial monogamist.

I love being in a relationship.

I’ve been involved in some degree of a relationship since I was around 14 years old. My longest period of singledom was probably in 2011…when I was single for about 7 months. Then commenced a three-year-long relationship.

I’m single now. And trying to stay that way indefinitely.

lizlemon2

I figured out that I do this thing where I throw myself into relationships in a big way, very fast. I don’t really give myself proper time to assess the situation, or the person I’m embarking on this journey with. I love being in love, and sometimes I do it foolishly.

Add to that the fact that I actually don’t date. I don’t think I’ve ever just gone out with someone for the purpose of assessing their personality. Maybe that’s silly of me but I don’t think we have a very robust dating culture in Trinidad anyway, so I’m sure I’m not alone. Perhaps that’s part of the problem…but dating presents a whole heap of other problems for me, which I’ll discuss some other time, maybe.

Anyway, 2015 will be the year that I focus all my energy on myself. No men, no distractions. (And of course now that I’ve said that out loud, Mr. Right will come strolling into my life tomorrow self)

I told myself I needed to take the time to really evaluate what I want out of myself, and out of a partner in a relationship. Not in a ‘make a checklist’ type way, but rather, really firm up in my mind what I should be willing to give, and expect in return. I think, if I look back on my past relationships, I almost always end up giving far more than I take. It’s always an emotionally and mentally exhausting experience for me, but I stick around because I really love the idea of adding to someone else’s life. But it always ends because imbalance does that to people.

I’m just tired I suppose, of allowing myself to be taken for granted…and somehow training myself to be okay with it. Not only will people take you for granted…they will betray your trust in ways unimaginable, until the darkness comes to light and your meagre imagination pales in comparison to reality (woah Ceola, heavy much?).

I never considered myself as being afraid of being alone…but maybe I was? I don’t feel scared now though…this is easily the most exciting thing I’ve done in a very long time. Having zero obligations to anyone but yourself is a very liberating thing. That and the fact that people cannot disappoint you because you do not allow yourself to have expectations of them. I am trying now to take everything people say at face value. I’m trying to live in a black and white world instead of the shades of grey I’m constantly colouring my life with.

My friend Veesha told me the other day, ‘you are bae’ (no I’m not leaving it in 2014, language police, you and your high horse could miss meh) today, and she’s right. I am bae. For all of 2015, I will give myself as much as I am always prepared to give someone else.

In 2015, I will travel. I may not travel by myself, because I know a lot of good people walking a similar road as I right now, but I will travel for me. For the last 6 years I have put off travelling, one of my favourite things to do, because I’ve been involved with people who just didn’t enjoy it or prioritise it like I did. This year I go where I want to because I have no good reason not to. I never had a good reason not to.

justgo

I’ll concentrate on developing and expanding my career and my blog. I need to start diversifying, trying new things, adding different media to this space. I need to write more, for more publications on a wider variety of topics. I want to start new projects with new people.

I want to focus on improving my health and my fitness and get my body where I want it to be. I want to have stamina and endurance. I want to be able to lift heavier and heavier things, and do more push ups, more sit ups, maybe even a pull up! Lol. I want to run new trails (maybe even without stopping) and try new exercises and new sports. I want to get into the habit of feeding myself better.

I’m not saying I can’t do all these things if I was in a relationship…but again…this way means less distractions, less obligations and more time for myself, ie, less excuses.

It’s important to do these things for yourself. For me it might be travel or fitness or work but for someone else it might be studying, it might be starting a business or pursuing a hobby or a past time that you just never made time for before. They say sometimes your boundaries are just a matter of perception, and they’re right.

I have no kids, no mortgage, no loans, no overheads…there is quite literally never going to be a better time than now to dedicate my life to self-improvement, and making memories for myself…by myself…maybe.

goalone2

I owe it to myself…this time to be by myself and be all about me. I deserve to be happy, and that happiness should never be contingent on anyone else. People should only add to my happiness by being in my life, never diminish it with their absence.

And even after saying all that…I say this. I have never been, nor will I ever be alone. This period in my life has taught me a lot of things, but the one thing that brings me an immense amount of comfort is the knowledge that I have a wealth of people in my life who support and care for me. People who were always there and some who came out of the woodwork just when I needed them most. People who understand. People who love me and want me to be happy. People to spend time with. People to talk to every minute of every day if I wanted to. I am surrounded.

So there it is…all my business in the road (not really) for the world to see. I hope this speaks to anyone in a similar place right now. We’re some boss ass bitches with some boss ass lives and it can only get better once your head is on straight and you flip the shit upside down and start appreciating all the perks of having no one to consider but yourself.

The Carnival Beat Up

I remember my first year playing mas. My friend Roxanne and I were so excited…mainly because ‘ohmygod this costume makes us look like we have boobs!’

So we were more than content, come Carnival Monday, to throw on our costume bra, a pair of shorts, pelt some sneakers on our feet, a dust of glitter, a dab of eyeshadow, not nearly enough sunscreen and hit the road!

Our total prep for the day was probably all of 30 minutes…

Cut to now and I literally have to start prepping for Carnival three months in advance…maybe more for certain things.

Some people book their makeup artists as early as Ash Wednesday for Carnival the following year…or so I’ve heard.

I wouldn’t call myself a particularly low maintenance masquerader…but neither am I the over the top super high maintenance diva either. I fall somewhere nicely in the middle…upper middle if I’m honest.

Right now I have most things sorted – makeup booked (two weeks ago), tan booked (first year I’m trying the no-sun solution to my natural luminescent palour), costume on lock, monday wear on lock (I think…Val, can you confirm?), tights (Carnivalista and regular ol’ Diane purchased), boots (bought ages ago), and wax appointment this evening.

The only thing I have to do now is get my bag for the road and acquire the gems to decorate said bag and my cup (because according to my friend Andrew: you can’t have an ugly cup in your pictures. Point!).

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to show you some of the new, and maybe more unusual things I’ve found myself buying this year for Carnival. Who knows, maybe I have something here you hadn’t thought of…and you can go sprint to Pennywise/Wonderful World/Starlite/etc to grab it now while you have time.

First up…

Shibue Strapless Underwear

Fascinating…no? If there are any guys reading this blog then you may be at a total loss right now, but bear with me…it will all be clear in a moment.

So ladies…some of you may know off the bat why this is even a thing at Carnival time. For those of you who don’t, let me explain.

When you wear a pair of stockings with your Carnival costume, the stocking is usually the first thing that goes on, before you slip on the bottoms. Now, if you aren’t fortunate to have a bottom piece with enough coverage to accommodate a pair of tiny underwear beneath it (and believe me, that’s getting more and more difficult to find each year) you find yourself in the conundrum of having nothing between your lady bits and your stockings. No bueno. This is no bueno for all kinda of reasons. To date, my solution has been panty liners, but those pose a problem all their own – shifting, unsticking, crumpling up from all the vigorous wining, etc. It’s a complete pain in the ass and it’s remarkable no one introduced a solution to this problem earlier.

Enter the Shibue strapless panty. It’s basically a pair of underwear with the sides missing, and a strip of adhesive silicone on either end of what is essentially two triangular pieces of fabric that are joined in the middle.

shibue

There you go! Problem solved! Well…we’ll see if it’s problem solved anyway. I got mine at the Carnival Pop Up Shop held in late January but I recently saw these for sale even cheaper in Wonderful World (Trincity Branch) at 2 pairs (one nude, one black) for $125 I think.

Pasties

If you’re wearing a wire bra, or are a particularly busty lady in one of Tribe’s notoriously padded bras, then it’s probably a good idea to premeditate your nip slip and cover those areolas up. Unless of course you’re part of the #FreeTheNipple movement, in which case, go through strong and hope you don’t get arrested.

These are pretty standard fare in Wonderful World (again, my go-to for any underwear related accoutrement) and I got three pairs for $25.

IMG_9124

Ignore the creepy stare…

Urifemme

I’ve been buying Urifemme for Carnival going on three years now. It’s basically a funnel to facilitate urination while standing up (for the ladies). For me, nothing is more horrific than the prospect of having to negotiate a filthy port-a-potty while drunk and wearing the equivalent of a spandex straightjacket around my waist. I haven’t always needed my Urifemme, because the bathrooms in Tribe/Bliss are actually quite clean most of the time, but it’s one of those things I need to have in my arsenal just in case. I get mine at Starlite Pharmacy.

IMG_9126

Flash Tattoos

So everyone and their mom have been on the flash tattoo craze. I managed to avoid it for the most part, but the drag queen that lives inside of me decided to jump all the way out and get some flash tats to match my costume in Bliss. It’s Indian Mas themed so I grabbed the Katnis and Apache sets from Flash TT. They’re selling at Bliss and Tribe distribution points today and have a few convenient locations for you to grab a set to complement your costume.

IMG_9122

So there you have it…a few unusual or first-time purchases for me this Carnival. May update this after tomorrow if I buy any other weird stuff…

Have a safe and happy Carnival everyone!