#ShopLocal // Christmas Gift Guide

Hide yo wallets! Hide yo ATM cards!

The recession is here y’all and so is Christmas!!!

I’ve always seen Christmas time as my own personal recession anyway…since it’s the time of year I spend with reckless abandon…both on my loved ones and myself.

Anyhoo! In my humble, completely unprofessional opinion, there’s no better way to stimulate a country’s ailing economy by spending more money…locally.

So tell Amazon to go suck an egg (most of the Skybox companies have passed their Christmas shipping deadlines anyyyywaaayyyy) and check out these great gift options for your peeps…or….yourself.

$800 and under

So if I’m even bothering to get you a gift, and you’re not Mombert or Dadbert or Brobert, you probably fall into this category. You ma top tier peeps so I’m gonna shell a little more on you than I would other folks in my life.

Rebel Swimwear – $700-$800 at The Shop


Woven Baskets – $576 – $684 at The Shop


Meiling Tunic – $650 at The Shop


Shop Shari Necklace – $600 at Exhibit A

IMG_1442 (1)

Delia Alleyne Wrap Jumper – $600 at The Shop


Lisa See Tai Fringe Kimono – $558 at The Shop


$500 and under

Cocoa Vintage Necklace – $475 at The Shop


Toni Crockett Design Throw Pillows – $400 each at Exhibit A


Lend & Borough Tote – $351 at The Shop


The Urban Factory Bracelet – $380 at Exhibit A


Colouriot Jewelry for Bene Caribe Necklace – $280 each at Akimbo


Zidelle Crop Top – $360 at The Shop


Island Bags Pouch – $320 at Exhibit A


Aya Made Necklace – $250 at Akimbo


Wholesome You Body Care Gift Set – $225 at Akimbo


JoVew by Makisa Bag – $315 at Akimbo


Drevait Clutch – $360 at Akimbo


Bay Leaf Tunic – $350 at Akimbo


Sanianitos Sunnies – $250 at The Shop


Greta Michelle Tea Cups – $245 each at The Shop


$200 and under

Yes this category exists!

Cocoa Vintage Cocoa Pod Studs – $125 (gold) and $100 (brown/yellow) at The Shop


Nikki Biedes Bracelet – $175 at Exhibit A


Immortelle Beauty Gift Set – $150 at The Shop


Wholesome You Hair Care Gift Set – $140 at Akimbo


Turtle Warriors Tassel Bracelets – $150 each at The Shop


Immortelle Beauty Ambré Candle – $125 at Exhibit A


Nola Daniels Coconut Tea Cup – $72 at The Shop


Classy Gents Beard Oil and Balm – $130 and $60 at Akimbo


I still have to hit up Exhibit A and Blue Basin to see what they have on offer, so this guide will probably get updated on the weekend.

This list is by no means exhaustive – there’s no way I could document every single item at these stores, so I just selected the items I liked the most 🙂

Please pay a visit to either The Shop at the Normandie Hotel or Akimbo on Pro Queen Street, Arima, to grab some locally made goodies for the loves in your life.

Happy shopping!


Treasure Hunting // Akimbo

East people…our time has come!

Finally there’s a shopping resource in the east for people who want to put their money where their mouth is and buy locally (and regionally) made clothing, accessories and beauty products.

Akimbo, located on Pro Queen Street, Arima (obliquely opposite the tennis courts near the Arima market) is a newly opened boutique which carries products from Trinbagonian artisans, as well as a few folks from other islands.

I missed the opening on November 7th but was able to pop in today.

They carry a variety of designers and makers, with products ranging from clothing to jewellery to handbags to toiletries to furniture to art.

Prices are reasonable IMO – ie, you don’t get the impression you’re paying a heavily inflated price for purchasing from a retail outlet as opposed to directly from a designer.

The store itself is spacious and comfortable. You don’t feel cramped while browsing the items. I didn’t get to check out the changing rooms but they seemed to have quite a bit of space in the area behind the register, so I’m optimistic those also give you enough room to wiggle into some of the pretty dresses on offer.

If you’re still stuck for Christmas shopping, and not able to make it to any of the local markets, consider Akimbo as a shopping destination “past the lighthouse” (eye roll, eye roll, eye roll).

Please note that Akimbo doesn’t currently have a LINX machine. They’re working on it, but for now it’s cash only. Luckily there’s an RBC a stone’s throw away.

Check out my pics from Akimbo:


AYA Made necklace (custom order)


William McIntosh


JoVew by Makisa


KisKiddies by Xala Ramesar


Bay Leaf


Ai Naturals soap


All Things Pallet




Affrillance Haiti

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.

Pencil This In // Christmas Pop Ups

There has been NO shortage of shopping opportunities over the last month and a half. Since Bits and Pieces kicked things off in November, every time you turn, there has been a pop up sale or market.

I’m not complaining, of course. Christmas markets are, for me, where all of this began. My first trip to any local market of that kind was Chez Nous back in 2011, I think, when they were still up at Knightsbridge. It’s where I bought my first pair of Denise Hendrie earrings, my first 1ndividual tee and a gift set from Immortelle Beauty.

The Christmas markets continue over the next few weeks – Upmarket happens this Sunday at Woodbrook Youth facility, and again next week Sunday at Country Club.

However, there are two events I am particularly looking forward to over the course of the next two weeks.

The first actually begins today. It’s Janice Derrick’s Christmas Open Studio, and it’s taking place at the jeweller’s studio in Cascade.


Janice will of course have her exquisite jewellery available, and she’ll be joined by Lend & Borough (I first met Melissa at last year’s studio…and let’s just say my love affair with her bags has been quite healthy since), Jade Drakes jewellery (available today only), Richard Hubbard, Sew Lisa and Adam Williams Ceramics (Saturday only).

The Open Studio happens today from 4pm to 9pm and again tomorrow from 10am to 6pm.

If you’re still on the hunt for something wonderful for yourself or a loved one for Christmas (or just because it’s the weekend) I strongly suggest you find your way to this event.

The next pop up I’m super excited about is Desperate Gifts, hosted at Propaganda Space, Belmont.


Desperate Gifts is the brainchild of Robert Young from The Cloth and it runs from December 18th to January 3rd (the timing, as you can guess, is an apt reflection of the name…surely desperation starts setting in once this rolls around right?).

Thankfully anything you buy at this event won’t reek of a last minute rush. How could it when the items on sale, no doubt, were carefully and meticulously crafted?

Literally anything you buy here will be a hit:

Items from The Cloth, of course.



You can also shop Dappered by Mark Eastman, Lisa’s Fabrics, Brianna McCarthy…even the elusive Hak Gwai will be making an appearance!

These are just a few of the sellers who’ll be at Desperate Gifts though, so be sure to drop in and take it all in.

So that’s it for me. Once I hit these two markets I should be completely DONE with Christmas shopping. Technically I’m already done but I’m one of those people who keeps buying when I shouldn’t. Oh well. No one complains 😀


Happy shopping!


My Christmas Wishlist 2014

Hulllooooooo folks!

My FAVOURITE time of year is upon us! I’m a huge Christmas nerd (nevermind my Christmas tree isn’t up yet) and to me there’s no greater joy than being able to give thoughtful, meaningful, beautiful gifts to my best friends and family.

This is a smidge late for me but I decided to put together a compilation of some of my personal favourite local goodies that I’m hoping to find under my tree (but probably won’t since I’m pretty sure no one in my fam reads my blog. Weh!)

Mayan Collar by Jacqueline Renee

Statement necklace…need I say more? I love this designer’s use of organic, found materials, and who doesn’t love a good burlap anything? Sidebar: on my last trip to NYC, Urban Outfitters was trying to sell me a burlap poncho for like 80 bucks so I’m gonna guess that’s ‘in’ right now…

TTD $325. Available at NoMoreFashionVictims.com

TTD $325. Available at NoMoreFashionVictims.com

Anyway, this is way better than a burlap poncho.

Scented Candle by Immortelle Beauty

I am a huge sucker for a scented candle. This candle, described as golden amber musk with hints of sweet, spicy ginger, would make the perfect addition to the collection of earthy, spicy scents currently on rotation on my bedside table.

immortelle candle 2

USD$28. Available at ImmortelleTT.com and at Chez Nous today, Upmarket on December 14 and 21.

Hand Painted Ring Bowls by Ashley Thompson

When you own a lot of jewellery you’re always looking for cute ways to keep track of them. I haven’t seen anything cuter and more special than these ring bowls by Ashley Thompson. The one of a kind bowls will inspire you to get your life organised. Your accessory life anyway.

From TTD$180-$280. Available by special order from Ashley Thompson.

From TTD$180-$280. Available by special order from Ashley Thompson.

AMEN Printhouse Laptop Case

I actually do need a laptop sleeve for my new Air, since I fully plan on just tossing it in to whatever random bag I’m carrying on any given day. AMEN Printhouse makes some super cute laptop cases out of their unique, Caribbean-y prints. Protect your precious robot baby and support local at the same damn time.

Order it from AMEN Printhouse

Order it from AMEN Printhouse

Cocoa Vintage Cocoa Pod Necklace

Everything Crystal of Cocoa Vintage makes is magic, but it took an extraordinary stroke of genius to concoct this beauty. Ceramic cocoa pod with a bunch of cocoa seeds (but really they’re freshwater pearls) spilling out. Brilliant stuff and a real conversation-starter (if you’re in to that kind of thing…conversations, that is).

Get it at UpMarket on December 21.

Get it at UpMarket on December 21.

This whole look from Meiling’s Collection 2015

I was blessed enough to acquire a pair of trousers from the ‘Borrowed From The Boys’ themed Collection 2015, but I can’t keep my mind off this gorgeous ensemble from Meiling. According to Instagram, glamazon Wendy Fitzwilliam has already scooped these pieces up. Nice to know I’m in good company.

Get it at Meiling's Boutique at #6 Carlos Street.

Get it at Meiling’s Boutique at #6 Carlos Street.

The Cloth’s Attention Skirt 

Pretty much anyone with eyes is in love with this skirt, and of course, with good reason. I don’t consider myself a girly-girl by any stretch (some of you are scoffing right now…I don’t care) but there’s something about this skirt that makes me want to embrace what little femininity I do possess and go twirling around at top speed. This skirt also made it to the coveted Designer Island Loves List 2014, so I suspect it will be in high demand this Christmas.

Get it at Desperate Gifts, Propaganda Space, December 20 to 24.

Get it at Desperate Gifts, Propaganda Space, December 20 to 24.

And so concludes my Local Christmas Wishlist 2014. Hope you guys enjoyed!


Pencil This In // Racked 2.0

Racks on racks…on racks…of clothes.

That’s the forecast for this weekend with the highly anticipated Racked 2.0 touching down this Sunday at The Verandah on Rust Street, St Clair.

You know the drill (or do you? hmm) – show up early…because I can guarantee everything you love will be sold out in the blink of an eye (I know this because I’ll be the one buying them, ha!).

Doors open at 11am and the first 50 customers get a complimentary cocktail from the bar. Parking is available on both sides of Rust Street on a Sunday so there’s no fear of the wrecker swooping through and grabbing your shopping money. The event only runs til 5:30pm so it might be a good idea to skip the beach. The weather has been shit anyway…Racked is the better idea.

Ain and Emma, the ladies running the event basically dished that patrons can look forward to even MORE apparel designers this time around. They’ve made a concerted effort to cater to everyone – women (duh, but we always get the best stuff), men (with BCO Style, Mark Eastman and Peta Odini) and kids (San Sarai, Sew Lisa and ESPJr). There will be more than 22 of our best and brightest in local fashion on hand to serve up all the fabulous hand-made goodness that frankly, we don’t see enough of.

If you’re like me and are in the quiet throes of desperation, trying to get everyone’s name checked off your Christmas list before the end of November, then Racked 2.0 provides the perfect opportunity to do exactly that, all while supporting the #SupportLocal movement.

Here are a few of the designers you can look forward to at Racked tomorrow:

See you tomorrow guys!


A quick word to say I love you guys.

Aaaaaaand, my girl Mel over at Trinidad Lookbook is hosting a pretty sweet #RepYoHoodie crowd funded custom apparel campaign over on Teespring.com. Basically….show your hood some love with a comfy hoodie that let’s everybody know where your roots are buried.


Mine? Deep in the earth of Arima forever. I’ll be snagging two – one for me and one for my bro. If you rep Arima PLEASE support, we only get our swag if the target of 20 sold is met. I. Want. My. Hoodie. Dammit.

#AhhReeMah Stand Up

#AhhReeMah Stand Up

The griot one is pretty dope too.


In case you didn’t know btw:

A griot (/ˈɡri.oʊ/; French pronunciation: ​[ɡʁi.o]), jali or jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician.

So all the lovers of storytelling, be it song/dance/music/poetry or just plain ol’ sweet talk, be sure to grab one of these too. Part proceeds go to the Cancer Society….because #FckCancer

Btw if you want your hood/ie repped I suggest you ride around your block real quick and round up 20 of your most fashionable friends. Petition Trinidad Lookbook to see your hood/ie for sale then let your wallet do the talking.

Hometown pride. Yes eh.