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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Baby on Board



The one concern that many women have when registering for a costume months in advance of Carnival is not whether or not they will loose the pounds (though that is another concern some may have) but what happens if you get pregnant! With bands starting registration as much as five months in advance of Carnival anything can happen, even with the best precautions and contraceptives. Fact is this is a blessing of our sex and no one can predict to an exact science when conception will occur. Some of us will take lots of caution to avoid the “accidental” impregnation but what happens if despite all your efforts you find out you are pregnant after registering for the costume you fawned over for days before deciding THAT was the one that will adorn your body come Carnival?

This was the situation for a friend of mine in October of 2005, after registering in TRIBE she found out she was a few weeks pregnant. To be honest with you I have to say though she looked forward to having the baby she was a bit disappointed that her hopes of playing mas were slim to none. Friends we have in common thought she was crazy for even having that thought, but no one can really fault all the emotions that come with being pregnant and I for one did not judge her for feeling that way.

So, the plan for her was to wait until the very last minute to decide what she was going to do come Carnival Tuesday/. By that time she would have been 3 months pregnant and the possibility of still playing mas was very real to her. The practicality of such a move, however, became a concern after our first all-inclusive fete, Amnesia, where she did not have the energy to survive the fete and had to retreat to a seat for the night. That cemented in her mind that she simply did not have the endurance for playing mas in a pregnant state and she sold her costume. Suffice it to say she was annoyed when sitting at home on Carnival Tuesday she saw Wendy Fitzwilliam in all her resplendent pregnant glory playing mas in Harts! Usually an individual Wendy that year was a regular masquerader in her yellow whole suit playing mas not only in Harts but also Peter Minshall’s Sacred Heart.

Of course the decision to go ahead and play mas in spite of your pregnancy depends on many, many factors and I am not a doctor so if you find yourself in that position at the moment and really have that desire you can consult with your physician and see what the verdict is. Many women go to the gym and do walks while pregnant so we know exercise is not ruled out for some, and what is Carnival but one long marathon anyway. Now I am not advocating that you push for playing mas, nothing is wrong with sitting out one year as Carnival will always be there. Personally I would be very remiss to playing mas if I found out I was pregnant for fear of dehydration, people’s rowdiness and the inability to make that Carnival hike. Surely I would be taking full advantage of TRIBE’s resting bus if that were the case! I might add that there was one pregnant lady in my section this year who got her costume modified with a sheer piece of fabric covering her somewhat pronounced belly and she looked quite beautiful!

I know several ladies who got pregnant unexpectedly this year, one ruled out the possibility of playing mas from early on since she found she was pregnant just before band launching began in fervor, the other one recently found out and decided against playing mas and finally, we have Ms. Carnival superstar who went ahead and registered for a costume WHILE pregnant! And, she insists that she is going to be playing mas to her fullest as well. To each of these ladies the decision was a very personal one and kudos to them for dealing with their pregnancy in the way that suits them best.

If you are a masquerader who got pregnant after singing up with a band, take comfort that you are not alone, this happens to many women each year, do not let anyone make you feel guilty for being sad at missing Carnival and if you are playing mas while pregnant do all that is necessary to be safe on the road. The best way to get your costume sold at this point, if you need to, would be advertising on carnivaljunction.com and if you are with TRIBE check with the mas camp as well since there is a waiting list of persons wanting costumes. To all the expectant mommies congrats!! This must be an exciting time and I am sure you are all looking forward to the amazing months ahead.

Though some of you will be missing out on Carnival next year, lucky you have a chance to review all the bands for 2008, including the many new ones and will be in the position to pick among them for 2009! And since you are missing out on a fab costume for 2008 make sure for 2009 that you are a frontline H.O. in all her splendor! For my lovely super mommies playing mas with the baby on board, I salute your tenacity and see you on the road!

PHOTO SOURCE: www.hartscarnival.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

St. Mary's Carnival 2008 Orphanage Project

I was quite surprised to discover this facebook group geared to giving back something to the needy in Trinidad on their visit for Carnival. It is an excellent idea and I hope that persons who may not want to join the group can also find some charity in their hearts to donate something, as small as it may be to the many charities that are establihsed in Trinidad. For more information on the St Mary's Orphanage project you can visit this facebook group.

Trini Carnival 08: St Mary's Orphanage Project

Starting
in Carnival 2005, myself and a few generous friends and strangers have been
bringing toys, books, clothing, medical supplies, and anything extra we could
fit into our suitcases down to Trinidad for the orphans at St. Mary's Orphanage
in Tacarigua.

Carnival Saturday, after Kiddie's Carnival, the items are
delivered to the kids and some of us visit with them as well.

Plenty
people have said that Carnival is not a time for this kinda thing, and people
are too selfish to even think about doing something for these children . But we
have, of course, proven them wrong.

To date, we Carnival Junkies hailing
from the US Canada, the UK, and Caribbean, have donated close to $5000US in
goods to the children at the home.

It only takes a second to pick
something up that could make the difference in a little person's life. Also, we
will take donations of gently used items as well. Closer to Carnival time, there
will be drop off locations in a few cities, for those of us who can't make it to
Trini this year or dont have the room in our suitcases.

Besides with all
the slackness soon too ensue, you might want to think about doing something good
to even the score, lol.
Contact InfoEmail:
kktyson@yahoo.com

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Carnival Story

Few people know the roots of bands such as Poison which has now "birthed" new bands such as TRIBE, Island People, Pulse 8 and Dream Team. The following is an archive taken from the NALIS website which gives a bit of history into the fascinating dynamic that is Carnival!

THE CARNIVAL STORY

BIRTH OF HIGH MAS

By Terry Joseph

Episode 12

Express

March 3, 2000

Page 35



While pan and traditional calypso suffered from the post-1970 direction of the Carnival, which demanded more frenzied music and sound reproduced at deafening levels, mas meanwhile enjoyed an unprecedented boom.

Growth had been steady since the turn of the 1930s, when historical mas was a regular feature of the Tuesday parade. Mas had also diversified. J'Ouvert had defined among its mas options yard-sweepers, babes-in-arms, ghosts, cow mas and the dreaded blue devils and jab molassies (a mas that originally required the entire body to be covered in molasses). Bats and midnight robbers had also braved the daylight.

For the Tuesday competition at the savannah in 1932, presentations were judged in 19 categories (including best-decorated bicycle). The first prize overall was $60. Public participation had taken a leap by 1933, causing the authorities to schedule special trains to bring spectators and revelers into Port of Spain for the Carnival day parades. Patrick Jones put on a fireworks display that Carnival Monday night, which frightened more than a few people and the first amplified sound was heard at the Queen's Park Oval.

The growth pattern continued after the break for World War II. In 1956, more than ten bands crossing the Savannah stage fielded in excess of 300 players each. Among them was a young bandleader called Edmond Hart.

At the time he was rubbing shoulders with legends like Harold Saldenah, Irwin McWilliams, Stephen Lee Heung, Harry Basilon, Horace Lovelace, Bobby Ammon and Errol Payne. Men, who dominated the masquerading population, wore breastplates made from real metal (fashioned by the likes of Ken Morris) and carried regal capes of heavy plush velvet, when playing historical mas.

By the early 1960s, steelbands, which had concentrated on military mas up to that time, began to make their presence felt in the pretty mas league. In 1963 they were matching creativity with Saldenah's Controversy of Time, Bailey's Bats and Clowns, Edmond Hart's The Etruscans, Archie Yee Foon's Field of the Cloth of Gold and Irwin McWilliams' Festival of Moscow. The steelbands had answered the challenge majestically.

Cito Velasquez presented Splendour of the East that year and Desperadoes charmed the audiences both at the Savannah and Downtown with Land of the Zulus.

But it was Pat Chu Foon's designs that took the top mas prize. His drawings for Gulliver's Travels had been converted by the Silver Stars Steel Orchestra into a prize-winning presentation. It was the only time that a steelband would win the top prize at the Savannah and this one was particularly significant as it beat four-time winner George Bailey into second place.

By 1977, changes to the 1956 picture seemed to represent much more than 21 years of artistic evolution. Breakaway factions from the better-known bands were now producing their won full presentations, competing against their former mentors.

Morris' band split to also give us the Home Team; Raoul Garib had left Stephen Lee Heung to bring out his own band; Bernard "Frenchie" Clamens and Neville Hinds had parted company with McWilliams and Hart's band had spawned Mavericks.

Consider now that out of Hart's has since come Young Harts Ltd, Barbarossa, Poison and Legends, four of the largest bands at last year's Carnival. The 700 players that Edmond Hart fielded in the 1950s had grown to more than 17,000 over the period, comprising one-third of last year's Port of Spain parade.

These were not the only changes. The sheer weight of numbers, coupled with a number of social factors, had meanwhile altered the way mas would be played thereafter.

SOURCE:http://www.nalis.gov.tt/carnival/history_CarnivalStory_Part12.htm

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bon Voyage!

Just a little information for all you readers who visit daily. I will be on vacation out of the country for the next 9 days; my flight leaves in the next few hours actually. If possible I will try to update the blog as usual, if not I will update as I can. Of course getting all the news from Trinidad might not be an option so any questions or comments will be answered when I get back!

Enjoy the hiatus and remember to keep checking daily as you never know when I WILL update! I shall also be on the lookout for Carnival accesories, boots and Monday wear options for all you divas to look fabulous! Keep up the workouts and preparations for Carnival 2008.

Sayanora!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shine!

Glitter has always been a part of my Carnival from as far back as I can remember. There is just something about dusting yourself with gold flakes that says I am ready for mas!

As a child my mother would smear Vaseline on my face and arms then apply the glitter, the Vaseline base ensuring that the glitter stuck and stayed on. Nowadays Vaseline and glitter equals a very bad sunburn, so I have taken to using glitter spray.

The glitter spray comes out in a fine mist and leaves your body, or hair, with a nice shimmery glow. I buy my Jerome Russell spray at Wonderful World in Trinidad for around $35.00, it is the one pictured below in the red can. One can is finished by the time I spray both myself and a friend on the arms, back and stomach. It does not last all day as the coarser, traditional glitter, but both of them rub off anyway with sweat and rubbing against other people.

Other sprays by Jerome Russell are also available, though a bit more expensive than the one in the red can; the Punk Spray sells for $45.00TT and the Bwild for $50.00TT. I have found online prices are comparable at around $7.00US.

Hair and Body Spray



Punk Spray


BWild


Alternately if you just want a head to toe glow and do not want to have the obvious shine of glitter, you can try shimmer powders or shimmer lotions. Most of these products are a bit subtle if you ask me and are more used to simulate a tanned look on paler complexions, however Jergens Soft Shimmer lotion is pretty good for shimmer factor! It actually has glitter in it and for every day use might be too much, for Carnival it is perfect providing a dewy glow with a hint of shimmer.



So don't forget to add these items to the list of "must have" Carnival accessories if you are looking to complement your costume with radiant skin!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sold Out Section Update

BRIAN MC FARLANE
Winds of Horror
Demise of Oceans
Fires of Rage – Female
Pestilence – Female

ISLAND PEOPLE
Female:
Lioness
Kingfisher Bird
Silver Fox
Dragon Lizard (Frontline)
Great Egret

Male:
Kingfisher Bird
Silver Fox
Zebra
Great Egret
Polar Bear

TRIBE
All sections sold out

HARTS
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Apocalypto
Jewel of the Nile
Geronimo
Sahara
Pirates of the Caribbean
300
Karma Sutra
Prince of Egypt
Queen of Sheba
Chicago
Troy
Sampson and Delilah

EVOLUTION
African Gold (frontline)

DREAM TEAM
Emperor Butterfly
Wild Orchid

No Love yet

It has been one month and 17 days since D Krewe's launch on September 15th and the website has been "under construction" all this time. Daily I do see progress as 12 sections with prices are now available for viewing, however you still cannot register. Since there are 19 sections in the band "Love is" we await the other seven sections to make it unto the website. Sources have indicated that registration starts this weekend, we shall see.

As for the layout of the website, I would have liked to see bigger close up pics when you click on the links for headpiece etc. Personally I think the photos are too small and you do not get to see the detail of the costumes. In addition to the main D Krewe website several of the "outside" sections also have their own websites; thus far I have found individual links to the sections "Love", "Fantasy", "Tantric" and "Lust". These website provide more photos, contact information for section leaders and even the option to register outside of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mau Brothers - Fantasy



Pois Doux Productions - Tantric


Utopia International - LOVE



Sound FX - Lust


When outside sections are presented this way and not under the umbrella of the band it reminds me of the Poison days. On one hand it is great to be able to communicate with the section leader, and on the other you are not sure if all sections will meet the same standards. It was my experience in Poison that your total satisfaction really depended on the section you chose, especially in such a large band. The quality of costume construction differed from section to section as well as what your "all inclusive" package entailed and even what goodies were in your goody bag.

The trend with the other more popular all inclusive bands to have uniformity with all sections meeting the same standard in terms of everything provided such as lunch, drinks and goody bags ensures that each masquerader will get the same service and amenities. This is a trend I hoped to see newer bands adopt as well, but I guess variety is what makes Carnival so refreshing.

Here is hoping we get some Love this weekend and all sections are finally revealed to those who patiently awaiting D Krewe.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spoilt Rotten Kids 2008

Kiddes Carnival band Spoilt Rotten Kids will be portraying "The Casbah" for Carnival 2008. There are seven sections catering to ages 2 to 14 in this medium sized all-inclusive band and prices range from $950.00 to $1600.00.

Evil Eye


The schedule for competition 2008 is as follows:

Saturday 19 Jan Flying Fish Kiddies Carnival TBA

Sunday 20 Jan St. Anthony’s Kiddies Carnival St.Anthony’s College Grounds

Saturday 26 Jan Red Cross Kiddies Carnival Jean Pierre Complex

Sunday 27 Jan St James Children’s Parade Western Main Road, St. James

Saturday 2 Feb Sunshine Snacks Parade Streets of POS

Sunday 3 Feb Downtown Children’s Carnival Downtown POS


For costume sketches, photos of past presentations and more information on Spoilt Rotten Kinds visit the website :http://www.carnival-children.com/

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Image Nation Costumes!

Image Nation's website for their 2008 Carnival presentation "La Brea" has been updated with costume photos. I am liking the costumes on the whole, with few exceptions, since they are different from all that I have seen thus far, I think I have been saturated with bikini and beads until all bands look alike! Image Nation is refreshingly "different" and though the costumes may not appeal to everyone I appreciate the fact that they have injected some creativity in the mas. Guys playing with the band should love the fact that the male costumes go beyond the board shorts, providing some very nice options. To view all ten sections please visit Image Nation's website:







PHOTO SOURCE: www.imagenationltd.com








Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Men and Monday Wear

I thought this one would be a no-brainer, I mean you are a guy playing mas on Carnival Monday how much thought really goes into what you wear? However after a comment on my female Monday wear post I have decided to give a little guidance to the male newbies in terms of options for Monday wear.

If you are playing with a band that offers Monday wear to their masqueraders chances are as a guy you will be getting a T Shirt with the band or sections name emblazoned on it. In that case you can either wear your shorts/pants that are given or a pair of shorts of your own (man purse optional):



Getting no Monday wear from your band of choice means that the options are to either wear part of your costume, for example the shorts with waist band, chest piece, or the even the full costume; I have also noticed a trend with guys getting airbrushed, which when done right looks very cool:



Alternately you can wear a vest or T shirt with your shorts, which is what most guys choose to do on Monday, accessorized with a hat and sunglasses:





Then, we have the guys whose only accessory is their wash board abs and they often have them on full display wearing nothing on top, only shorts. I must point out that though women love looking at the men with chiseled bodies we really prefer the shorts NOT be anything clinging, made of spandex or showing off the family jewels:



And finally we have that special male specimen who takes it one step further and choose to jazz up their shorts with instructions to the ladies… or guys:


As for refreshing your shorts after a hard day of sweating, wining and drinking on Monday the nylon board shorts that most bands give these days tend to be easy to give a wash when you get home and because of the fabric it dries pretty quickly as well. So no worries there on getting it cleaned the next day, and of course if you were passed out drunk and really did not have the time to get anything cleaned, you are a guy, just wear another pair of shorts!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Trini Revellers Website is Up!!

Can we say FINALLY! There are 23 sections so far, though not all are available for registration, on Trini Reveller's website. The pop up feature to view more photos is not working for all sections and took a few seconds to actually figure out.

Nice to see all-inclusive prices under $2000.00 for many sections. As expected, LOTS of frills, and though on some costumes they are a bit "coskel" on others they are a nice reprieve from the beads and actually look very cute:

El Dia De Los Muertos


Lugar De Flores

Online Diet and Exercise Guide

One of the readers of this blog has introduced me to an online site where you can track your weight loss and diet goals, best of all it is FREE! The website is SPARKPEOPLE and you start off my registering, then type in your current weight/height, your target weight loss goal and a date by which you would like to loose the weight. You also indicate what other goals you would like to achieve, such as cardio training or drinking more water and also any medical conditions that you may suffer from such as high blood pressure.

What happens next is your personal page is created with meal planners that let you know how much calories you need to consume to meet your goal. Added to that it actually list sample meal plans which you can tailor by changing the foods allocated, you can substitute grapes for bananas, brown rice for salad etc. then it calculates how much calories ALL your meals work out to. The meal plan is printable so if you are going to work or out of the house you can keep it handy as a guide to the calories you are consuming.

According to your weight loss goal certain exercises are also pre selected for you, you can also tailor this to your needs. The guide tells you how many repetitions of each exercise to do and also provides a demo! I like that it gives you an indication of how many calories you are burning in relation to your goal.

There is also an online community where you can link up with other people who have the same goals as you, which is pretty cool. I am still exploring the website but so far I think it is a great tool in meal planning as my biggest problem is not working out but the food that I eat; I tend to lean towards unhealthy eating choices.

The timing could not be better either as I have made a clean sweep and gotten rid of all the snacks in the house! Right now all I have on hand are lots of fruits, vegetables, chicken breasts, low fat milk, bran cereal, brown rice and couscous. As I always say, the hardest part is getting started and it is nice to have this little tool where I can easily check how many calories are in a handful (15) grapes or my cereal and milk. So have a look at SPARKPEOPLE, hopefully it will help someone get on the right track to Carnival 2008!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Genesis Frontline Costumes

Now I really tried to hold my tongue when Genesis launched and I first saw the costumes, but I need to say something now. There is cause for concern when reading this Trinidad Guardian article that Nina Mac Kenzie might be a tad disillusioned since, being the designer, she is responsible for these costume "creations":

A woman’s work is never done, especially if you’re Nina McKenzie in the run-up to Carnival. The shy wife of Genesis bandleader Ian McKenzie took up the enormous task of designing costumes for ten sections, or “characters,” as she refers to them, for the band’s C2K8 presentation Tales. ............

“Choosing the characters I wanted to work with was easy. Coming up with costumes suitable for these characters was trying but interesting because I love working with my hands.” Unfortunately for Nina’s family, though, she usually gets brainstorms in the wee hours of the morning when her husband and her daughter are in dreamland. “I get my best ideas at two or three in the morning and I just have to get up and get it on paper because I’ll forget by the time I wake up. Sometimes Ian gets annoyed and would say, ‘My god, Nina, can’t you do that at another time?’ But I can’t. That’s just me.”............

Costume Designing 101
According to Nina, the first rule in designing a costume is knowing exactly what you want to portray before you try to figure out what it should look like. “Right after Carnival this year we decided what theme we wanted to go with for Carnival 2008. Then, although I have nothing against bikinis and beads, I used them sparingly. Instead of beads I used bells and shells. I also decided to stay away from the traditional appliqués and created my own.”

Her husband, Nina boasted, has an eye for the right fabric, which she uses to her advantage. And, despite the fact that designing is her forte, she often seeks his advice. “I am just a regular person with ideas and I always second-guess myself, no matter what. I make it a habit to always get Ian’s thoughts on all my costumes, especially the male costumes. His ideas help and I get good support from him. He is like my backbone.
While Nina's costumes have always been "unique", "different", "interesting" and this year they were actually not half bad, I am thinking a more holistic approach to costume design bringing other designers on board might perhaps benefit Genesis greatly. It is like asking an artist to judge his own work, of course he is not going to "see" what others see since he has in his mind a concept that has been brought to life. Of course Nina gets an A for effort as I can say these costumes are not akin to anything else I have seen thus far for Carnival 2008.

So now that all the frontline and special sections are up on Genesis website, I find it quite alarming that Snow Witch V.I.P. has a SIZE RESTRICTION!! Forget the price tag of $3100.00TT for a fur lined unitard for a second, what you really need to know is that this costume comes in only Small and Medium and a bra size of up to 36C. And here I was thinking Genesis needed as much people to register for the band as possible.

Snow Witch V.I.P




As for the Fairy Section Leader, methinks someone was sniffing some fairy dust as the price tag on this one is $8500.00 and they have the nerve to inform us that "ONLY 2 COSTUMES LEFT REGISTER NOW!". This costume is priced the same as TRIBE's Goddess of the Chase Individual and even more than Island People's Silver Fox Individual. After all the talk about those two bands having exorbitant, inflated costume prices it is a wonder the critics have yet to pounce on this little rainbow coloured "gem":

Fairy Section Leader


The Mermaid Section leader I reserve further comment on but would say I am quite surprised at the price of $3500.00. Based on this pricing strategy it seems as if Genesis has quite a loyal throng of supporters, since honestly these prices are not competitive at all. In a Carnival year with so many new bands with cheaper prices and more aesthetically pleasing costume designs, I wish Genesis all the luck!

Mermaid Section Leader


SOURCE: Trinidad Guardian Archives October 17th 2007

Cutesy Girl Responds

My two articles on Cutesy Girl have been about their cheap boots and consequently the claim by one of the bloggers that after purchasing a pair of boots from Cutesy Girl her credit card was subject to attempted fraud. I have a response from the Customer Service at Cutesy Girl who left this comment:

Hi, my name is Mary and I'm the customer service supervisor at Cutesy
Girl. I was informed of this posting and I wanted to make a comment.

We process payments via google checkout, paypal or our own credit card processing system. If payments are made by google checkout or paypal, we do not even see the payment information. Therefore, it is impossible for anyone at cutesygirl to take that kind of information. If payment is made via our own credit card transaction company, the only people who can see the payment information is restricted to 3 people. In addition, the information stored on our side does not allow us to process additional transactions, we can only refund the previous transaction. Also, any kind of payment information is stored for a period of 3 months then automatically purged from our system.

We exercise extreme information control for our customers. Our customer database is stored offsite separate from what you see on our online website. Every action performed internally is logged and reviewed on a 12 hour basis.

Unfortunately, internet fraud is rampant and we advise all customers to not to supply any kind of personal information via email or through "phishing" websites. Payments made by credit card are automatically protected by the credit card company and we help people handle credit card fraud all the time. If there are any questions, please feel free to email us at sales@cutesygirl.com.

Thanks!
It was good to receive this response from "Cutesy Gir" however, shopping at the website seems to be unavailable at the moment, which is quite interesting!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blue Lagoon

Here is a look at the Trini Posse section "Blue Lagoon" in the band Harts that is scheduled to launch tonight: For more information the this section visit Harts website.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Not so blind Item

What section leader in a very popular band is borrowing a page from Rio and a competitor in offering sexy Wire Bras to masqueraders?

Not so fast, this option is apparently only available for SELECT persons chosen by the section leader;not everyone will get this privilege, sorry guys. Thing is one would think that this section leader would have learned a lesson after this year's "Headpiece" fiasco. I just hope other masqueraders won't smell the rat when they see the hard bodies in this ultra skimpy section flashing their wire bras on Carnival Tuesday!





Trini Posse Launches Section in Harts

With 11 sections sold out in Harts, and other sections given an upgrade masqueraders still contemplating which of the remaining sections to choose will get even more choice come Saturday.

Trini Posse will launch a special section in Harts called "Blue Lagoon" tomorrow, October 20th at the Trini Posse stand in the Oval. Tickets are priced at $120.00 with live entertainment as well as live models will be on show.

For ticket information:Theron 683-1212, Renee 704-2202 Franayma 685-2188 Nigel 628-8606, 681-5925

Blue Lagoon will be open to everyone and will be available at the mas camp and website for registration come Monday after the launch.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meeting the Seemingly Impossible Goal

Have you been looking at the days dropping off the countdown calendar and thinking today is the day I am going to put down that brownie and start the gym? You have already set a goal in mind, 20 or 30lbs to loose between today and January 31st, especially since you registered for your costume a size or two smaller than what you are now. Then, as each day passes and you still haven’t signed up that gym membership card, or curbed that craving for sweets panic sets in. The frustration comes as you make a half hearted attempt to do some exercise, starving yourself thinking you MUST loose those pounds and then you say to yourself it is impossible to loose that much weight before Carnival, so why even bother.

This is not something unique to Carnival, women set weight loss goals for different reasons and events, it could be a wedding, vacation or school reunion; whatever the reason there must first be that desire then the second catalyst is motivation. One such success story and my inspiration that it CAN be done is a young lady who I met in person this year. When I first saw her svelte body at One fete I could not believe that this was the same person from her “before” photo; she looked not only much slimmer but also younger. Then she shared her story with me, and I am going to share it with you:

Jan before:

It was August when *Jan learned from her doctor that she weighed 167 lbs, at 5feet 6 inches tall this was more than she weighed when she was pregnant. That doctor visit led to her taking the first steps to loosing the weight and in September Jan joined the gym. With a personal trainer and 3 months of working out 4 times a week she had dropped from 167lbs to 144lbs when she weighed in December. The routine with the personal trainer went like this; for 2 days it started with 15 minutes of Cardio to warm up, then one hour of weight training (squats, lunges, abdominals) and 30 more minutes of cardio. The next 2 days would be 45 – 60 minutes of cardio on the bike, treadmill or cross trainer.

In addition to working out 4 days a week Jan changed her eating habits, “diet” was not something she was comfortable with so she tailored her meals to incorporate low carb options as well as she stopped her “vice” of soft drinks and alcohol, even having an alcohol free Carnival! For Christmas, she had no pastelles or ponche a crème, a sacrifice that was well worth it! Even though Jan did not continue her daily workouts at the gym when the New Year rolled around, she continued loosing weight and by Carnival her total weight loss was close to 30lbs. Not only did she surpass her goal weight of 145lbs but her bra size went from a DD to a C; as you can see in her before photos the costume was too big, albeit she had the foresight to order the bra in a smaller size.




Today Jan has admitted to regaining “some” weight but she is happier now and at the achievement made for Carnival. Though her success may not be as easy or typical for some it surely is motivation enough for ALL of you (myself included) who have vowed to shed the extra pounds for Carnival. So, what are you waiting for? There is still time left, 3 months and 13 days to be exact! Step away from the cookie, start walking around the block or to the gym and JUST DO IT!!!

p.s. If anyone would like the name and number of Jan's trainer please send me an email at trinicarnivaldiary@yahoo.com

*Jan is an alias

Image Nation Launches La Brea

Image Nation held a private launch of their 2008 Carnival offering "La Brea" on Sunday. There is a little write up about the "soiree" in today's Trinidad Guardian as well as the website has been updated with a review as well as photos from the event.

However, where are the costume photos? There are many shots of the fashion show that preceded the launch, and just ONE costume photo....hmmm. Looking forward to seeing all the costumes on the website very soon.



PHOTO SOURCE:
IMAGE NATION LTD

Carnival Tights - Part 2

Not all of you ladies can wait until you get to Trinidad to shop for tights and might be considering purchasing them either at a department store or online. The one caveat with shopping online is that you cannot compare and match the shade correctly nor do you know how sturdy the tights will be for two days of wining and jamming. Luckily one of the bloggers has reviewed several other available tights on the market and shares her experiences.

Just click on the highlighted name of the tights to be taken to the website:

VITA BASS 20 Pantyhose:
This one has a higher denier and held up better than the one I used on Tuesday. It is a bit more difficult to match to more 'tanned' folk. Hence I thought they looked slightly smokey/ashy on me, but I am also very very picky about the shade of stocking I wear for carnival.

Brazil 15 No Waist Pantyhose:
This one is my fave. It matched my skin tone better out of the two, but it is mot as sturdy as the first. I attached a pic of me wearing it on Tuesday. You can hardly tell that I am wearing stockings



Vanity Low Rise Sheer to the waist pantyhose
Then there's these. Alot more expensive, but there is actually a testimonial from someone who said that she wore the Solida Vanity 30 in Trinidad for Carnival in 2k6 and they were perfect! I cant offer any testimony to any of these though; I haven't tried them as yet.

And finally,

De Paree Low Waist Seamless Panty Hose

I had two issues with this one
1) there is not much skin tone option and darker-skinned people ( i.e. many of us) will have to dye them to match. I dipped mine in either coffee or tea. But this is not a problem for some. Also, that reinforced waistband that seems really apparent, I think will not show up once it matches your skin tone.
2)It was a bit thin and my fingernail got caught in it when I was rushing like a bat outta hell Tuesday morning and I totally ruined them....

So I think that's all I have for recommendations. I hope this helps some people. But remember buying them online is always a risk when it comes to the colour choice.

These all turn out to be more expensive than just buying them at home, but if you want to avoid the MILLIONS of people in Samaroos, Wonderful World and any other obscure place that decides to profit from the Carnival mayhem, buying your leggings online might be well worth it.


Carnival Tights Tip:
When putting on your tights remember to use gloves to prevent snagging on your fingernails.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Legacy's Website is up!

Any band that launches and has their website up and running soon after makes a good impression since planning for the launch should also include making sure the website available in a timely fashion. It just shows some organisation when these events follow each other smoothly, not like another band who launched on September 24th and the website is STILL not up, but I digress.

Price information and registration is not on the website as yet, but now I know the section names and can view close up photos of both female AND male costumes. It is interesting to note however that not all the sections are on the website as yet, I am guessing the "outside" sections such as Masai Warrior and Kingdom of Kush will be up on the website later on. I still don't get why bands insist on using body paint when it adds nothing to the costume and in some cases does not even make sense ! Of the male costumes pictured I am liking Serengeti Safari.

Here is hoping that all the information will be released on the website soon.

Sold Out Section Update

ISLAND PEOPLE
Female:
Lioness
Kingfisher Bird
Silver Fox
Dragon Lizard (Frontline)
Great Egret

Male:
Kingfisher Bird
Silver Fox
Zebra
Great Egret
Polar Bear

TRIBE
All sections sold out

HARTS
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Apocalypto
Jewel of the Nile
Geronimo
Sahara
Pirates of the Caribbean
300
Karma Sutra
Prince of Egypt
Queen of Sheba
Chicago

EVOLUTION
African Gold (frontline)

DREAM TEAM
Emperor Butterfly
Wild Orchid

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Carnival Tights

For ladies who wear Carnival tights getting a perfect match can be a problem due to the limited brands and shades available. The most popular brand is Silky which sells at Samaroos, Wonderful World and Micles in Trinidad; this brand comes in low waist as well as sheer to the waist and sells for around $35.00 TT or thereabouts. So far this has been my brand of choice since it matches my skin tone, though it is a bit shimmery, as I prefer the matte look which appears more natural.

Me in Silky brand tights (note the shimmer):


So when I saw these tights that Afro Chic wore for Carnival over the years looking like she was not wearing anything at all I wanted to know where she got them.

Afro Chic in Sensacion Tights




According to Afro Chic the tights are quite sturdy because she was able to wear them both days with no runs, the shade she wears in the photo is Carmelo ( think that's the same shade of Silky tights I bought as well) and she even went out on a field trip to show us bloggers exactly where to get these tights:

The name of the place is Pasarela and it is located on Frederick Street, Mall 58 (same mall with Cleve's).



The store is ON Frederick Street, so you can see it from the outside.



The available colours are: Brown, white, carmelo (which is the colour that I use), Canela, Arena, Salmon, N/Claro and N/Caf.



The brand name of the stocking is Sensación and it is made in Colombia.

XL is the biggest size and the measurements for that size are: 160-180cm and 69-79kgs.

They do have some in stock now as well as samples, and they will be getting in for Carnival as well.

Gerad Kelly's website is up


Children's mas band leader Gerad Kelly launched his 2008 presentation "How?When?Why?" on September 23rd and the website is finally up! There are 6 sections available for the kiddies and prices range from $795.00 to $1495.00, I swear some of the kiddies costumes are just as expensive as an adult costume! So, if you are looking at options for children's mas check out "How?When?Why?" as only a few children's bands are available online.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cutesy Girl for Boots, notice about online shopping

So, one of the bloggers informed that she ordered a pair of boots from Cutesy Girl, and had two fraudulent purchase attempts on her credit card there after. One was a purchase attempt of $600.00 and the other someone tried to buy an airline ticket using her credit card number. Luckily her Credit Card company alerted her to the fraud and she took steps to change her credit card and avert being swindled.

Just a warning for all those who are contemplating shopping at Cutesy Girl, or any other online shop that does not safe shopping software in place such as Veri Sign, to check with your bank to ensure that your credit card is not being abused . Cutesy Girl does offer a Pay Pal option, which is a safer method of payment just make sure to either enter the link directly which is www.paypal.com, or if you use the seller's link to pay, check to see that the address says paypal, and not paypals, or p@ypal, or some variation of the original address. Another option might be to enquire if the store will accept a money order .

It would be wise to check and see if fraud alert is in place for your credit cards as well as stick to shopping with the more reputable stores and alert the bank soon after your purchases as well, so they can have an idea of what your purchases are. Safe shopping all!

Harts - New Look Chicago and South Pacific

Got to hand it to Harts for taking a costume that is not attracting enough interest and re work it, notably after other sections have sold out; check out the new South Pacific:





And, another option to Chicago was added with the blue costume:

In the face of popular opinion if only other sections in other bands *cough*Bear*cough could be given an upgrade as well!

Legacy Review

It had been many years since I last partied at the Anchorage, and knowing it was under construction I was baffled as to why Legacy chose to have their band launch there; maybe it was nostalgia as they have always launched at this venue over the years. However, although the construction did not hamper the party goers, it did make for some interesting challenges in navigating the venue, for instance, to go to the bar one had to step down makeshift planks and I wonder how many people actually fell down drunk after missing a step. In spite of the obvious signs of construction, Legacy did an ok job trying to mask gravel pits and unfinished walls using fabric and positioning the stage in a certain way; of course I am sure all the people who turned out to the launch were not bothered in the least.

Knowing that Legacy is probably the only large band to launch in October I should not have been surprised at the huge turnout, when I arrived there were lots of people already there and even more came as the night progressed; saying the venue was packed is an understatement! At first the crowd of people were mostly “liming” then the atmosphere changed as the D.J. tried endlessly to rouse them and a few persons started dancing. It was well after 12 and people were anxious about when the presentation of costumes would actually start. It was quite amusing when I asked one of the ladies decked out in African garb, a committee member I suppose, when the show would begin and she stated that they would NOT be showing costumes as there was a media launch held earlier. Well I was quite confused by her statement and asked her to enquire from someone else if this was true, as I was ready to get out of there if it was, when she came back to say that the showing of costumes would begin soon.

After suffering ear splitting noise from one of the D.J.s of a popular Soca Station screaming on the microphone trying to build hype for the start of the show, finally the crowd was ready to party waving rags in the air:



Soon after drummers came into position on stage and the show began with an African dance routine.



Although there were 19 sections on show, thankfully it was not long and drawn out. Each model came out and DANCED in costume, really looking as if they were having fun! This made for some difficulty in taking photographs as they did not pose at all, but it was great to see such energy. For those who pay attention to those sorts of things, there was a good diversity in the models, albeit they were all very slender, and I especially liked the two models that were sporting a Jill Scott-esque Afro!


My one critique would be that there were only two male costumes shown, demonstrating once again the males are just an afterthought when it comes to showing costumes! The finale had the last model wearing a snake around her neck, I guess that represents some sort of Tribal element, anyway she also did a quick change and slipped on a back pack doubling as the model for the frontline option as well. Although the costumes looked much better than Legacy’s presentations of the past, and finally we have proper beads used on the entire belt and not just the front, take away the headpieces and the beaded bikini can blend into any other “bikini band” for Carnival 2008 with few exceptions. Personally I was not expecting costumes of George Bailey’s caliber (google him under “African Mas Trinidad) but it would have been nice to see the use of more authentic materials such as Mud or Kente cloth, masks, spears, cowrie shells and ethnic beads.

It turned out that I enjoyed the launch much more than I expected I would since the start was slow, however after the show I left many of Legacy's supporters and potential masqueraders having a really good time partying until early morning! The initial pricing for the few sections that were distributing flyers at the launch has costume prices well under $2500.00, all inclusive, which bodes well for those still looking for afforable, attractive costumes. I would have really liked to have gotten some sort of literature with the section names, but this just means waiting until the website is launched to get more information. The mas camp opens it's doors for registration today.

For photos of the launch:
Photobucket - Legacy 2008







Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oracle.. do you believe the hype?

Ever since the first designs from Oracle have been released the debutante band has been creating quite a stir among potential masqueraders and masqueraders, even those who had already selected a costume in other bands.

The one skepticism being bandied about is if the actual costume prototypes can live up to the fantastic sketches we have seen thus far. Well, judging from these photos that were taken inside the design studio the interpretation of costume from sketch to actuality looks pretty darn close!

SECTION II MALE


The foot pieces are pictured incomplete
and were added on as is for the photo:


SECTION X


The mask that will form
part of the backpack


SECTION III FEMALE


Work on the skirt in progress


Now, I am even more excited to see the rest of the costumes, the real deal, and these "preview" photos should put all doubts that the costumes will not live up to the hype to rest. For those of you on Facebook the Oracle group also has more behind the scenes photos as well as a very stirring video presentation on Gnothi Seauton.
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