Go Barefoot on the Beach for NYE

NYE is fast approaching and the thought at the top of everyone’s head, as usual, is how to celebrate.

I suspect my Ole Year’s will involve copious amounts of prosecco and Netflix…but for those of you heading over to the sister isle, there’s a slightly less ‘future cat lady’ option.

Mount Irvine Bay Resort is making NYE in Tobago fabulous with Barefoot on the Beach, a premium all-inclusive event, hosted at Mount Irvine’s Private Beach Facility on December 31st, 2015 from 9PM to 3AM.

Mount Irvine Bay Resort recently enjoyed a rejuvenation if you will, enlisting the superior branding expertise à la the geniuses at Abovegroup and embarking on a significant redesign via the Mac Farlane (yes, THAT Mac Farlane) Design Studio.

How do you lose with a combination like that?

Spoiler alert: you don’t.

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Imagine ringing in 2016 with waves lapping gently around your feet, with a glass of champagne in one hand and the other holding a plate stacked high with food. If that isn’t a great way to start the year I’m not sure why you’re reading my blog because literally…all I care about is food.

Now naturally, when an event’s tagline is ‘island chic, footwear optional’, you start thinking about what faboosh wardrobe you’d be stuffing into Caribbean Airlines Dash 8-friendly carry on suitcase for the weekend.

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Here’s what I would pack for a weekend away in Tobago, and a New Year’s Eve romp in the sand at Barefoot on the Beach.

Indie Swim

Indie Swim bikini available online or at NIXPIXX

Jae Jolly 1

Jae Jolly playsuit available at Exhibit A

Shop Shari

Shop Shari dress available online

cocoa vintage

Cocoa Vintage earrings available at The Shop at Normandie

Kite Dress

Kite dress by Meiling available at 6 Carlos

Sokanaval

Sokanaval ensemble available online

So…before the booty shorts and crop tops of Carnival come out to play, let’s end 2015 with some style.

Barefoot on the Beach tickets are available through Island E Tickets.

You can get more information or RSVP to the event on Facebook or send a message via Mount Irvine Bay Resort’s Facebook page.

 

I’ll be hosting a giveaway on my Instagram profile @CeolaB this week. One lucky winner gets a pair of tickets to Barefoot on the Beach, courtesy of the Mount Irvine Bay Resort.

Just repost the Barefoot on the Beach image and my caption and you have a chance to win a ticket to this exclusive bram!

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid to post about Mount Irvine Bay Resort or Barefoot on the Beach 🙂

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My Top Monday Wear Picks

Monday weaaaarrrrrrr. Love it, hate it, doh care about it…Monday wear is here to stay! And I’m pretty neutral on the topic, I think everyone has the right to spend their hard earned money how they choose, and if that choice involves dropping a cool $10K on a costume, then another $1200 on top of that for Monday wear then do you boo!

Monday wear designers have been revealing their designs since last year August, when Monday Rocks The Runway let the bumcees loose at O2 Park.

Armchair critics had a time, complaining about who was wearing too little, who was wearing too much, who bottom was outside, who breast was in dey face. Yeah…because skin at Carnival is somehow STILL taboo.

All that noise aside, I’ve been in observation mode since then and I feel like I’ve narrowed down some of my favourites from the offerings this year. My own Monday wear is on lock thanks to my spirit animal Valmiki Maharaj, who also designed my costume, Pai in Bliss, but I’ve got a wandering eye. No harm in looking right?

Keisha Als

Hands down one of my favourites from her Bling collection. This is one of the more recent designs that she’s done for her collaboration with cANYAval, and you can colour me impressed. First up, a nude bodysuit is ALWAYS a good idea…and the crochet overlay on the nude metallic adds much-needed texture to the monochromatic look. Throw on some sparkle and you’re good to go. Understated fabulousness for Carnival Monday and beyond. Bling looks have begun selling out by the way, so click the link in the caption to go to the store.

Rebel Swimwear for Vice/Tribe

I’m not playing in Vice but for this Monday wear I just might have to sneak my name on the list. You know Vice right? That’s the costume that…well…a little vicey. The one that had personal trainers struggling to come up with exercises specifically for the pubic region and girls all over Trinidad bawling they need a ‘box diet’. Yeah, the Monday wear is no more forgiving. I love Rebel on the whole, cause Sian owns the bad bitch formula and shares it willingly with what she calls her ‘Rebel army’. Lots of combinations available which makes it even more special and I LOVE the colours and print. Can’t wait to see this on the road.

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Marie Collette

I appreciated this piece from the time I saw it at Monday Rocks the Runway. Digging the tribal elements juxtaposed with that graphic print. The extreme high cut is offset nicely by the string waist band…so you out there…but you not OUT there I guess. That waist band come like Atlas…the world rests on its shoulders. The little cutaway on the bust is also quite cheeky…but if you can make it work, do so post-haste!

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Rhion Romany

Can you talk about Monday wear and not mention this name? Rhion Romany has BEEN killing it in the bodywear game for a while now but he has some simple but very effective options for the gliteratti come Carnival Monday. I’m digging the Diana and Julia bodysuit options for Monday mas, and they come in a variety of custom prints that are hand picked by the man himself. This high cut business that happening with Diana gonna be causing real problems on the road for Carnival, I done see. But nobody minds because it’s fierce as all hell.

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Diana (left) and Julia (right)

Let me know who you’re wearing on the road for Carnival Monday, or if you’re opting for some DIY action…maybe even a lil Micles kit (ain’t nothing wrong with that by the way).

Tchao!

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.

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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!

Ciao!

#RepYourHoodie

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.

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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.

Griot

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.

Port of Spain Style by Maya Cozier

A while back I was asked, rather spontaneously, to be interviewed for a short film that Maya Cozier was shooting during her summer break from school. Of course I obliged, and yesterday, Maya posted the finished product for all to see. Kudos to Maya for great production quality, fab story-telling and a cast of super interesting subjects, all of whom I respect for having a distinct sense of style that I think is very true-to-self. I feel very honoured to have been considered along with these fab folks – Shandelle Loregnard, Sanian Lewis, Aaron Fingal, Rhys Thompson, Shannon Alonzo and Arielle Williams.

Check out the video below and share it round! You can peep me at 3:02 touting my fave local labels like Lend & Borough and Koko Karibi, and honourary Trini (but really she’s Dominican) Kristy Collado’s Chejo line.

Port of Spain style from Maya Cozier on Vimeo.

Ceola does Colombiamoda // Day 2

My Day 2 and Colombiamoda’s official Day 1, Tuesday was a very long but very exciting experience.
It’s not every day you get to see how a world class fashion show and convention is orchestrated and executed. Not to say I took a glimpse backstage or anything, but the entire operation from the point of view of a spectator was seamless.

The day began with the herding of the press into our cool Inexmoda/Colombiamoda mini-buses to get us to the venue – Plaza Mayor – in time to go through the rigorous security checks and get seated comfortably for the inauguration of the trade show. Present was the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, who spoke about the tremendous growth the country has seen not just holistically but especially with regard to their position as the fashion hub of Latin America. The fashion industry of Colombia accounts for some 15.7% of employment in the country and there has been a 20% reduction in imports since 2013, an indication that far more preference and support was being shown to the national product. Those are statistics we in Trinidad & Tobago can only dream of seeing one day. If I’ve learned anything from this experience so far…it’s that Trinidad & Tobago has a long way to go before it can reasonably claim to have anything even resembling a fashion industry.

When I worked in government, we used to host a few developmental forums, and invited representatives from places like Singapore to conduct workshops and lectures on how to move from third world status to first world status. While Colombia may not be, on paper, a first world country (yet), I would not be surprised in the least if we would find more relevant and poignant solutions to our current crime scourge and societal issues by looking to countries like Colombia.

Anyway, enough politicking, on to the fashion! And fashion there was! This entire complex is basically a fashion mecca – so large  I haven’t even been able to see more than 30% of it’m sure. I hope to rectify that in the time I have left here. Yesterday was mostly a day of runways or “pasarelas”.

First up was the Non-Stop Runway, featuring four designers – Andrés Pajón, Bastardo, Mariangélica Guerra and Purpuratta. Andrés Pajón was my favourite in the lineup, due in part to his bright, colourful designs, heavy embellishment and distinctly feminine aesthetic. It also helped tremendously that he sent his models down the runway to Busy Signal’s Tic Toc 🙂

I also really enjoyed the intricacy of Mariangélica’s collection. Her largely neutral colour palette allowed the details of the interwoven fabric  to shine through. Loved the pops of teal throughout as well.

The next show I hit up was presented by fashion magazine Fucsia – Ashes by designer Vanessa Gomez. It was a collection inspired by rock and roll bohemian and it showed. I loved the incorporation of fragmented knitwear throughout the loose, flowing fabrics. There’s no way you can wear this collection and not feel like a rockstar. Loved the styling as well.

La Alcaldía de Medellín…or the Mayor’s Office to us English-speakers, presented three designers, all of whom went above and beyond my expectations – Natalia Londoño, Love Citizens and Andrea Landa.

Natalia Londoño was soft structure with amazing prints. I´ve noticed, throughout all the collections, a subtle but very consistent attention to and respect for detail. Natalia’s was no different.

The super cool Love Citizens were next. While they were principally beach wear, their outerwear and separatess stunned, particularly the white mesh & neoprene (I think) skirt and jacket pictured below.

Last for this segment was Andrea Landa. She blew me away…so much detail – both the hand crafted macramé and the slashed leather were stunning, juxtaposed with the relaxed fit of her garments. Easily one of my favourites for the week so far.

Next on the agenda was a super fun show – the Ipanema x Paradizia presentation. The suits were bright, colourful and detailed…pretty much everything we seem to want from suits nowadays. It’s only kind of amusing how little we purchase swim wear now for actual swimming.

Last but not least was one of the few brands I knew about prior to arriving in Colombia. Custo Barcelona, in partnership with Haceb, produced a beautiful collection. It was cacaphony of colours, prints and textures. It’s amazing how one does not even question the combinations presented…it just makes perfect sense once you see it in motion.

And so concludes the first official day of Colombiamoda! Hope you enjoy the clothing as much as I did 🙂 Time for bed…10+ hours of fashion looks a lot better on paper than it actually is in real life – exhausting.

Let me know which are your favourite looks in the comment below! h

Ceola does Colombiamoda // Day 1

Ok so some of you may have figured out by now that I am in the land that gave us Shakira, Gabriel García Márquez and James Rodriguez (no ladies…I am yet to see him or any of his doppelgängers).
To be more specific, I’m in Medellín, the former stomping grounds of one Pablo Escobar, and a city that’s seen a radical transformation since the aforementioned’s reign.
To be fair, where I’m staying is one of the more affluent areas – El Poblado is an upscale neighborhood nestled in the hills just outside of the city centre of Medellín. Here there’s lots of hotels (as it seems to be the preferred domain of tourists), restaurants and malls. I love how green everything is – trees line the streets and there are a lot of green spaces or parques scattered throughout the area.

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I’m here covering Colombiamoda on behalf of Metro Magazine. The actual Colombiamoda didn’t kick off til last night with an inaugural presentation by Camilo Álvarez, a Medellín native and one of their rising stars in the fashion circuit. Anyway, I’m jumping ahead. Will give you more on Camilo’s show later.
The press (and we are a hefty number) was invited to attend an overview of the city and brunch hosted by the Medellín City Hall and the organisers of the event Inexmoda.
One of Medellín’s most impressive features, to me, so far is their Metro system. They’re obviously quite proud of it as well, because we all hopped aboard to head out to Parque Arví, where the event was being held. Their Metro system is new, clean and accessible. Imagine my surprise when I realised that they’ve integrated cable cars into their Metro – a concerted effort to provide more accessible transportation to those who live further up the hills of Medellín (the more impoverished communities here proved to be a stark contrast to the sanitized facade of Poblado). We sailed in the sky above a sea of red brick and galvanize.

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I noted with some amusement that rather than having billboards, some advertisers have actually painted marketing messaging on the rooftops of some homes. Apt, when you consider the length of the journey up to the top of the mountain. Eventually the scene changed from houses to forest and we made our way across an expanse of greenery before arriving at our final destination. – Parque Arví.
Parque Arví is stunning. As soon as we walked out of the Metro station we were greeted with a quaint reception – finger foods and a delicious fruit juice (I think it was pineapple).

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After milling about for a bit, we were all invited to don our cool gardening gloves that we got in our goodie bags and go plant a tree! I named my tree Paco, and with any luck I’ll be able to come back to Medellín in a few years and see him again.

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After flexing our green thumbs, we assembled for brunch. First course was a delicious stuffed portobello mushroom. I was about to dig in when my seat mate Monica (one of the directors of Look Magazine in Guatemala) informed that there was ham in it. Whoops! Don’t eat ham. The caterers were kind enough to organise a ham-free plate for me though. Main course was a tomato quiche and desert was rice pudding and a cheesecake made with a local fruit called uchuva.

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Once we finished brunch it was back down the mountain for us. We headed back to the hotel and I headed out to a nearby mall SantaFe to capitalise on all the ‘Rebajas’ signs in the windows of some of my favourite stores. I also managed to find a sushi restaurant in Poblado – Sushi Light. The sushi was fair to fine considering they didn’t have the variety of rolls I’m accustomed to. It’s always fascinating to me how sushi differs from country to country depending on tastes.

That night was the inaugural runway of Colombiamoda featuring one Camilo Álavarez, in conjunction with title sponsor Cementos Argos. A curious marriage no? Of construction material and fashion…? Not when you think about it though…for many designers, architecture and environment are a key influence and inspiration and for Álvarez it was no different. The press release by Inexmoda had this to say:

This interest for urban themes was taken as a theme of study and analysis, perfect for collaborative work with Cementos Argos – which takes the idea of fashion and the city as a construction – an idea that is becoming both stronger and viable in Medellín as well as Colombia as a whole. The strengthening of these themes is partly due to talented young designers who have started to reconstruct national identity through design.

Camilo Álvarez has been a key player in the transformation of a new generation of critical, creative and original designers. “Desayuno” is an example of the evolution of Colombian design. It is a collection through which the inspiration of the designer is seen through a series of tones which travel from early morning until midday hours demonstrated in a palate of colours that go from cold and neutral colours to warmer shades.

Naturally, I loved the collection. I’m a fan of anything I consider to be ‘elevated casual’ and that looks super comfortable while still bringing something unique and fresh to the table. I was a particular fan of the colour palette, and the way the looks transitioned from white to light blue, to blush, to black, to the metallic copper accents found on many garments later in the show.

Álvarez set the bar quite high for the three days to follow.