Travel Diary // Eating the Big Apple I

Hi, I’m back and slowly but surely getting over my intense NYC withdrawal.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (@CeolaB), you probably witnessed me successfully eating my way through The Big Apple last weekend with my best friend Sandi and her sister Ashanna.


No makeup selfie on the way to Brooklyn from JFK. Shout out to Jose who was the best host ever (AirBNB y’all).


These beauts on the A train ^^^

Normally my trips to NY are just huge shopping marathons with my mom but on this trip I wanted to focus on eating at places I’d never been to before. I polled my FB friends before I left to try and get a gist of some of the best NYC eateries that I should hit up while on vacation.

Naturally I couldn’t hit them all, but I think I achieved my goal of enjoying a true foodie experience in New York.

Check out the pics below for a run down of all the grub I had.

Spice was one place that kept coming up when I asked about good food in New York. It’s a chain restaurant with extremely quick service, which doesn’t come at the expense of the quality of the food. We had a great meal and all our entrees came with complimentary appetizers. Don’t mind if we do.








That night we decided to check out a Zagat rated southern comfort restaurant nearby where we staying. Peaches Hot House was packed to capacity when we arrived around 8:30pm. We placed our names on a board and went outside in the cold to wait, staring daggers at this group of folks who were taking forever to pay their bill and leave.

Eventually we got a seat and started in on some good ol’ comfort food. Not too shabby, but admittedly, didn’t live up to my expectations. I was super excited about the mac n cheese and blackened catfish but the fish turned out tasting a bit overseasoned and the cheese was slightly too sharp given the tartness of the salsa on the catfish.

Sorry about the dodgy pics, the lighting in the restaurant was next to none and I didn’t want to blind my fellow diners with my flash.




That was day one of my NYC eats. Look out for the next post in which I gush over Chelsea Market.

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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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?


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.




I love the colours in St Vincent.


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.

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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.


Just down some stairs…


And around a bend…


And then you’re there!


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.

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



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


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


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


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


Too late to turn back now…

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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!’


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.


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


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


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).


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


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


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:

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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.


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.


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.


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.