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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Eats, Trini Style

  • Question of the day from a Carnival Virgin : Where to eat in POS. What are the must have Trini delicacies and where are the best places to get them? Also what are the best restaurants (on a budget) and the must-go limin' spots for those nights when going to a fete is not on the agenda?
To answer  the question on a personal note., some of my favourite places would be Dopsons for the best Roti, Richards at Maracas for the best Bake and Shark, Irie Bites for the best jerk chicken and if you want to eat out at a nice restaurant on a budget I love Hakka; reasonably priced and very tasty food. 

Here are some more recommendations from the Trinidad Carnival Diary facebook fanpage and feel free to leave your own advice on good eats in Trinidad:

  • Smokey &  Bunty's on Western Main Road, St. James. Cro Bar on Ariapita. In fact I hear that Ariapita Avenue is known as "Restaurant Avenue" in Trinidad. Check those out.
  • I've always been a fan of Trotters. On a budget, KFC :) must have bake n shark (but that not town that north coast)
  • Best pie I love in Trini is the pie man at the corner by City Gate (west side outside cross the road)
  • Don't forget to have a snow cone with plenty milk :) yum yum
  • Well when am in Trinidad for Carnival, my spots are Crobar for a lime before the fetes. I normally hang there for beastly drinks such as Carib and Stag. After a Fete we would either drive to past Sando by a place with big tents that sells the best grill food. From lamb to chicken. They are muslims, so no pork. If anyone can remember the name of the place please state. If not there we drive to Arima by the dial for hot doubles made by some people called Ruffianers. If you are looking for a good hanging spot during the day, why not visit the Breakfast Shed in POS for the best dishes of TNT. Maracas Beach is the place to be to shake out the after effect of each fete. Enjoy some bake and shark and other sweet dishes of TNT. Have a sleep and then its back out to start a night of fete again. These are just a few spots that I check out. A long list is needed for me to continue.
  • D Avenue (Ariapita Avenue) is certainly the best place to go for food n a good lime. Just walk the stretch and your instinct will lead you to one of the hot spots....other than that head to the city that never sleeps St. James
  • Trinidad Chinese from Jenny's or the one across the street towards the park (forgive me I forgot the name but I think it starts with an S) but it's across the street from Jenny's.
  • I like Sweet Lime on D' Avenue. The BBQ Grill Spot diagonally across from Smokey &  Bunty (forgive me I forgot the name). Patraj doubles in San Juan.
  • As far as KFC/Royal Castle...Royal castle is the worse now with their blah chicken so I say KFC either the one in the Airport or the one in West Moornings.
  • Ohhhhh yes for South people (like myself) def check out the Muslims under the white tent (don't know the name either) BOSS! Or Eat It is also bess.
  • When its not af fete its ah lime and de lime alway goes down on de various spots on de Avenue with Levels being the latest, de many bars/restaurants at Movietowne, how bout Cipriani Blvd: de spots dey starting to swing heavy and for plain out rock backing - Daybreak Cafe in de west widest selection/variety of alco beverages with de Wild meat man, Dons Roti Shop and de grill place to whet yuh palette. Try dem yuh mus like one of dem places
  • De muslims under the big tent in sando used to be called Bel Air BBQ because they were in Bel Air, now they just around the corner from Jenny's in Sando (San Fernando).
  • The Teak Room, in the KAPOK Hotel, Excellent place to eat!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Trini Revellers Dragon Slayers

Trini Reveller's website is fully up and running now, you can check out the section Dragon Slayers (who sent me a special email with their costumes) and many more sections from "Tales of Merrie Ole England"!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hilton and Spice Team Up

Once again Hilton Hotel and Spice are teaming up to bring their masqueraders a special deal for Carnival accommodation. I like the fact that this year there is no calling around for information ( it is all nicely presented via email) and the special has it's own discount code when you book, take note "Spicequeraders"!

Click To Enlarge

Saturday, November 27, 2010

ENV Hair It Is

People who know will tell you that I love hair, bought or otherwise growing from my scalp. And, changing my hair for Carnival is also part of the experience, right now it is a toss up between 18 inch extensions in straight or wavy for Carnival.

 This hair obsession is not cheap as I usually import hair as the type and brands that I use were not available in Trinidad. Now, Hair It Is on the scene and they are offering quality Remy Extensions  and hair products for the discerning customer.

I especially like the idea of clip in extensions for a quick transformation and human hair ponytails which are one of the easiest and sleekest hairdos for Carnival, so if you are still thinking of what to do with your hair for Carnival (of the fete season) head over to Hair It Is and check out what they have in stock! 

A simple change of hairdo can transform a woman’s spirit. Just ask any cancer survivor who covers her hair loss with a stylish wig or hair extensions. A company partially owned by ex Miss Universe finalist Danielle A. Jones is making this feeling even more accessible for Caribbean women through the introduction of not only her own line of top quality clip in hair extensions but also by introducing the Jada Pinkett Smith endorsed natural hair care line Carol’s Daughter and US West coast hair care brand, Mixed Chicks to the women of Trinidad and Tobago.

“A well coiffed woman has a confidence that is unexplainable,” said Jones as she joined Leap Communications Ltd to open new retail/ wholesale distribution outlet Hair It Is (on d’avenue) 21 DeVerueil St Woodbrook (corner of DeVerteuil St and Ariapita Avenue), “Now women of all races can come to one location to find hair products that are right for them.” Hair It Is (on d’Avenue) offers everything for ladies “with locks to weaves and everything in between.”

Most exciting is the introduction of the Jones endorsed ENV line of premium, 100% Indian Remi Human Hair clip in hair extensions. “ENV” (pronounced envy) stands for Empowered, New and Vivacious which describes “…what women feel when they have a new look and a new style. Hair adds confidence and with ENV premium clip in hair extensions women can get that feeling, have a new look and change their style in minutes.”

On the decision to be involved with a line of clip in hair extensions of better quality than many brands endorsed by US celebrities, Jones says, the decision was not taken lightly, “I only want to be associated with brands and products that have a positive impact on society, and that embrace diversity”. Jones was adamant to the foreign interests involved in positioning her endorsement that the product had to be premium and for the many different races reflected in Caribbean's multicultural societies. ENV caters for women of all races with clip in extensions and hair pieces for women with relaxed, naturally straight or curly hair. "ENV hair is the best quality available and is genuine Indian hair - that was important to me because too often women companies sell lower grade products in the Caribbean. This product is one that I endorse because I use and love it - it makes me feel like a Miss Universe all over again and I want other women to have that confidence in their inner beauty and new looks!"

To help women learn about hair extensions, hair care products sold at Hair It Is and the top trends in hair from international runways, Hair It Is launched a Facebook page packed with information. The page has been viewed by over 6,000 locals who learn everything from how to clip in ENV extensions to how to plait a Cascadoo braid!

As part of the ex beauty queen’s association with the new premium hair extension brand, ENV will launch a line of skin weft hair extensions designed specifically for women experiencing hair loss as a result of chemotherapy or alopecia. “This line will be distributed regionally. It is called Denise, in honor of my mother who angelically won her battle against cancer in 2005 just before I left for Miss Universe,” said Jones. “A percentage of all profits will support various cancer organizations including the Associates of the Radiotherapy Centre of which she was a part, children cancer support groups and my own cancer charity which will treat women to free beauty products upon diagnosis.”

For more information on ENV 100% Indian Remi Hair Extensions, Carol’s Daughter natural hair care products, Mixed Chicks and the other products offered at Hair It Is (on d’avenue), please visit Hair It Is on Facebook, email or call (868) 624-6114.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Deals

Here is a round up of Black Fridays sales if you are still looking for boots, baubles and bling!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Machel Montano Coming Again

Listen to Machel Montano's new track "Coming Again" HERE  or the link below and tell me what you think, feeling it or not?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Machel Montano The Return

November 24, 2010 - It's official - Machel Montano announces his return to Carnival 2011. In March, 2011 Montano will join thousands of residents and visitors in celebrating Carnival in his native Trinidad & Tobago. 

Montano returns after taking last season off to start new projects and explore various avenues to further develop his sound, brand and mission.

In this time, Machel has further increased the presence of Soca music internationally as millions of television viewers worldwide tuned in to his hit collaboration, "Alright" with Latin Hip Hop star, Pitbull. The song was used during episodes of the popular series, Hawaii Five-O on CBS and Parenthood on NBC. "Alright", entered the Billboard charts and received major airplay on mainstream radio across the globe. It will also be featured on the hit NBC T.V. show, Friday Night LightsOver the summer, Montano was a headline artist on Pitbull's 22-city "Mr. Worldwide Carnival Tour." The tour traveled to major cities throughout the United States.

Immediately thereafter, Montano slipped into the studio to begin work on a new album. The energy from these sessions coupled with cries from his adoring fans played a major role in convincing him to make his return. The new album promises to deliver a number of bonafide hits for the upcoming Carnival season. The first single "Coming Again" will be released on November 24th, his birthday.

At the center of this comeback, Montano is eyeing the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad for a much anticipated "Return" concert, which he contends will be the "Mother" of all Machel Montano events. The show will also include the talents of well-known stars he has collaborated with in the past and a few new surprises.

The official launch of Montano's "Return" campaign will commence as soon as the clock turns at midnight, heralding 2011 in as the New Year. This will be done in dramatic fashion, as the new website is unveiled. All the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace & Youtube will be integrated, celebrating this launch.

Fans who join Montano's Facebook, follow him on Twitter @ machelmontanohd or subscribe to his YouTube channel before January 1, 2011, will be entered into the Machel Online Return sweepstakes. This gives them a chance to win exclusive merchandise, music & VIP access to his 2011 Carnival events.

Montano says, "I am very excited to come back home and perform. I can't wait to engage my fans both online and in-person. My mission to bring Soca into the mainstream of today's music is becoming a reality." To learn more, log-on to now!
"I am thrilled to make The Return." 

New Soca for Carnival 2011

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Carnival FOUR Times a Year!!!

I am convinced that those in charge of the "Culture" of this country are clueless as to exactly what it takes from ground up to put on the "Greatest Show On Earth". Why else would a proposal for Carnival every THREE months be considered?  As reported by the Trinidad Express:

SHOULD a proposal be made to have Carnival in this country every three months, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston "Gypsy" Peters, says he would welcome it with open arms.
He said, "Carnival is the quickest developing thing" in Trinidad and Tobago and, as such, it should be utilised in the best possible way in order to boost this country's tourism industry.Peters made the statement yesterday, as he and Minister of Works and Transport Jack Warner made a tour of the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, where construction work is currently ongoing in preparation for next year's Carnival celebrations.

"We must not be coy that Trinidad and Tobago is the land of Carnival. And if we understand that Trinidad and Tobago is the land of Carnival, we have to use Carnival as a product to bring people to this country, which is what I have all intention of doing," Peters said."We must use it. Carnival is a business. That is what Carnival is. Carnival is what you use to bring people to your country. If we could have Carnival every three months, I am good. I am serious, because Trinidad and Tobago is the home of Carnival."

Peters said for now a temporary structure is being built at the Savannah and is expected to be completed by February 10 next year, adding that the first show at the venue—the Panorama semifinals— would take place on February 20. He said by early next year, a competition will be held where local architects could submit their ideas on how the permanent structure should be built. He said a Carnival museum will also be incorporated in the permanent structure. "In my own mind, I want this place to be a place where people would want to come. Not only for Carnival, but we also want to have a Carnival museum here where all these costumes from yesteryear, what we have now and the ones that are going to come on stream, can be put on show. We can have it here so that people from all over the world can come and see it. That is what is going to be here," he said.

He also again criticised the construction of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) building by the former Patrick Manning-led PNM administration, saying maintenance alone costs taxpayers approximately $40 million annually.

"NAPA was built for a specific purpose and I want to tell you that it was built to fulfil Mr (Patrick) Manning's ego of having CHOGM in a fancy place. We have to now find something constructive to do with that place. That place is a dark hole that people have to throw money in," he said.

Yes, we are quite aware of the fact that Carnival brings the tourists to Trinidad but did anyone stop to think that these tourists have to save , plan and budget to visit for Trinidad Carnival because of the expense and that it is ludicrous to think that they all have the disposable income to make this trip every three months? Not to mention that the average citizen in Trinidad and Tobago who participates in Carnival also has to fork out the equivalent of some people's monthly salary for a costume? How are any of us going to be able to support and afford a Carnival Culture every THREE months?

Carnival Bands put months of planning into each presentation, how is this going to work with Carnival four times a year? Reuse your costume? Make your own costume and come? What about the music? Is it now that Calypsonians, Steelbands and Soca Artistes have to make new music as soon as one "Carnival" is over or is this going to be a recycled and packaged Carnival on repeat every three months?

And add this quarterly Carnival to the Calender of Jazz Festival, Tobago Heritage Festival, Point Fortin Borough Day, Arima Borough Day, Great Fete and we will surely have to rename Trinidad the land of "fete and music!" because that is all we will be doing all year! 

How Do You Lime?

Here is a new All Inclusive Fete to add to your calender, the question is "How Do You Lime?".

4:00PM Wednesday, March 2, 2011 Hyatt Regency Hotel:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Genesis Website Is Up!

Click on the photo below to be taken to Genesis Carnival's website:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Best of The Past - ULTIMATE Carnival Packing List!

The Trini Carnival ULTIMATE Packing List

You should already have an idea of how to dress to fete and the type of clothing to shop for when it comes to parties from my previous posts and also the kind of footwear that will be needed for comfortable feteing.

So, we shall leave out clothing from this ULTIMATE packing list which comes as a compilation from the contribution of all the overseas bloggers who so graciously shared with me all that is going into their suitcases to Trinidad. If anything is left out please let me know by leaving a comment!

Good luck in meeting the weight limit!

Airline Tickets
Copies of passport and Identification cards
Drivers Permit
Copies of Hotel Confirmation/Bookings
Copies of Emails pertaining to accommodation/car reservations
Copies of all receipts for fete tickets purchased online
Costume Receipt
Letter of costume transfer (if buying a resold costume) as well as copies of seller's ID card
A list of all items packed
Photo evidence of your luggage and contents in case it is lost by the airline

Travel pillow
Flip flops (practical, fancy)
I Pod
Duct tape (for when they buss yuh overstuffed suitcase)
Ziploc Bags
Ear Plugs

Sun block with high SPF
Aloe Vera Gel (cools sunburns)
SPF Chap Stick/ lip-gloss
Sun glasses
At least 1 hat
Foot cream (something that tingles)

Shaving Cream
Hair Remover/Depilatory
Eye drops
Contact lenses
Contact lens solution
Contact lens case
Re- wetting Drops
Dental Floss
Feminine wipes
Wet Wipes
Breath mints!
Chewing Gum
Double Sided Tape
Bra Inserts
Stick on Bra
Nipple Covers
Tide to Go Stain Remover Pen

Pepto bismol
Imodium AD
Prescription Medication
Birth Control
Mini First Aid Kit
Blister Lotion
Chafing Powder
Gel Insoles
Insect repellent
Milk of Magnesia
Hand Sanitizer


Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Spray Paint
Bling Cup
Waterproof Powder for Feathers
Travel sized sewing kit
Extra pins and Velcro tape for outfit and costume adjustment.
Comfortable Shoes, Sneakers or Boots for the playing mas
Gel Insoles
Mas Tights

Spirit Gum
Face Jewels
False Eyelashes
Glitter Lotion
Makeup Remover
Blotting Sheets
Q tips

Pumice stone
Exfoliating body gloves
Nail polish /remover
Curling iron
Blow dryer
Flat iron
Hair clips/bows
Hair Pieces/Extensions
Braid and Weave Spray
Hair Scarf
Shower cap
Anti Frizz Hair Serum
Shampoo and Conditioner
Inflatable Foot Spa (the Epsom salts you can get in Trinidad!)

Camera/camera bag
Waterproof Camera
Disposable Camera
USB cables
USB Drives
Video Camera
Portable DVD Player
Cell phone for conversion if applicable
Chargers and/or batteries for all your electronics
Voltage Converter
Power Cords for all electrical implements
List of all friends’ contact info
A small telephone book with a copy of all the numbers from your cell phone.

J’ouvert shoes and outfit
Monday Wear
Money Pouch
Watch (waterproof)
Costume Jewelry
Extra backs for earrings
Water shoes, if you plan to be walking/swimming where there is coral or sharp rocks.
Bathing suits
Towels for the beach
LOTS of Underwear
A Bottle of Johnnie Walker - black, blue, red, green doh matter, come one come all
Rum Flask
Key Chain Bottle Opener
Goodies for friends and family

The Best of The Past - Fete Wardrobe

Dressing For Feteing 

I can only imagine how stressful it must be to pack for Trinidad Carnival, especially for the women, when you are limited by the weight of your suitcase and a multitude of events to attend. There are so many fetes to go to, plus you need to walk with Carnival accessories, gifts for friends and family that you probably wonder how you can pack everything and what items you can getaway with leaving behind.

Well, here is a simple guide to what type and items of clothing you will need for certain events, and then you can pack accordingly:

All-inclusive fetes:
Plan on dressing up more than you would to go to any other parties in Trinidad as these fetes are usually a “fashion show” with some people dressed to thrill. With premium drinks and a variety of dishes included in the ticket price, all-inclusive are where you go to mingle with the local celebrities, politicians and the who’s who of Trinidad social circles.

Daytime all-inclusive fetes like Beach House and Salybia require stylish yet simple attire and a cute pair of shades. Bermuda shorts, skirts, tunic tops or even a “summer dress” are all quite acceptable wear. Footwear should be comfortable; wedges, flats or nice sandals are perfect, please leave the sneakers at home!

All-inclusive fetes held at night usually bring out the sexy and the stilettos. Expect to see women in daring sexy tops showing off cleavage or back, short skirts emphasizing the legs in high heels, hipster fitted pants showing off the curves and stomach in addition to being adorned with lots of trendy accessories. Rule of thumb is the more expensive the fete, the more dressed up the women are. Furthermore, you see all the latest trends, so if you are not wearing something new you will not be in style. If you need to shop for one new outfit before heading to Trinidad, plan on something you can wear to an all-inclusive fete like Brian Lara’s or Moka.

Soca Jams:
These are large affairs with thousands of people, several live brass bands usually held in some large open space such as a car park for Customs or sports ground like the Brass Festival. Two things are most important when dressing for these fetes, comfort and comfort. This is the time to wear your shorts, jeans and sneakers, with that many people you want to safe guard your toes as well as be able to jump and wave all night to the soca bands.

The only accessories you need are a flag, rag or bandana to wave on instruction and someplace safe to stash your money. Unlike the exclusive all-inclusive, these fetes tend to attract a cross section of society, with many exuberant young boys who might get into fights or try to pick your pocket.

Theme Fetes:
Any party where you are instructed to wear white, black or a crazy hat is considered a “theme party”. Knowing which one you plan on going to in advance helps with the wardrobe. Eyes Wide shut is where you wear all black and a mask. Glo you don all white and Mad Hatters requires you wear some type of headgear. Now, you don’t have to follow the “rules” and can wear anything you desire but the majority of people do follow the dress code, even in part, so unless you want to stand out prepare your outfit accordingly in advance.

Breakfast Parties:
Starting at mid-night and going until the sun comes up, these parties like Insomnia and Dawn test your endurance and fashion sense. What might look good in the night does not look as cute when daylight hits! Here is a tip, walk with sun glasses for when the sun rises; some faces show the stress of the night before more than others, the sun glasses hides the “morning face”. Make sure and “day approve” your outfit, anything worn or faded might look great at night but show all the sins in the light of day.

Another bit of advice for ladies is to take along some blotting sheets, lipstick, eye liner, wet wipes and body spray in your handbag. As the sun rises you can discreetly go to the wash room and “freshen” up. Lots of these breakfast parties also supply you with toothpaste packs, use them!

Zen and 51 degrees have a dress code; if you are going to either one know that men are not allowed in with sneakers and they tend to dress on the metro side, expect to see guys in man blouses and women dressing like Paris Hilton. From my experience people tend to dress very trendy to go to these clubs, lots of “what’s wearing now”. To get an idea of how people dress, just browse the galleries at

Out Door Fetes:
Any party held at Anchorage, Mobs 2, Pier 1, and other open air venues such as Bacchanal Wednesday, Girl Power or Trini Posse are defined as such. These parties are somewhat like the Soca Jam in that they attract a lot of people, might have more than one live band, but they do not attract the same element. Soca Jams tend to attract a more “rough crowd”, for want of a better word, whereas these out door clubs attract a wider cross section; middle to upper middle class, foreigners a sprinkling of local celebrities as well as the popular party crowd. The dress code is usually stylish jeans, pants or shorts coupled with a sexy top and comfortable yet stylish shoes (sandals, wedges, trendy sneakers). You do want to be comfortable to wine and jam, jump up and get on bad, but you don’t want to look like a hot, sweaty mess doing so either.

Panorama Semis
If you are lucky enough to be in Trinidad for Panorama Semis know that most people in the North Stand will be decked out in a "crew" T-Shirt/Vest/Baby Tee. Club Coconuts, Island People, Red Ants,Insmoniacs, Jamboree among many other promoters offer Panorama Packages for around $150.00TT which include one of the aforementioned garments to wear, food and drinks ALL day and a fun lime with rhythim section and alot of other drunk people (cost of your panorama ticket is not included however). This year one of my friends got other accesories in her panorama package including a cup, whistle and "female urinal" (I kid you not!).

It is not necessary to join a crew to enjoy panorama, we usually do our own lime walking with our drinks, food etc. BUT we do wear a uniformed T-Shirt. I come up with the design each year, and iron on the pattern on the T-Shirts/Vests/Baby Tees which is cheap yet effective. The other standard panorama wear is shorts, t-shirt/vest, sun glasses and sneakers! You do not want to be in heels navigating the North Stand stairs!

After Carnival Cool Down:
Whether you are heading to Tobago, Maracas or Manazanilla most likely you will end up on a beach so swimwear is the clothing of choice. I advise on wearing a cover-up when you are not taking a swim since candid camera men are notorious for stalking women in bikinis and next thing you know you are unwittingly starring in some post carnival video.Shorts, Capris, sheer draw string pants or even a wrap is an ideal accessory on the beach.

I plan on listing all the fetes for the Carnival season when the schedule becomes available, but for now here are some of the more popular ones:

Soca in Moka
UWI All inclusive
Bishops All-inclusive
Q.R.C. All-inclusive
Fete to the Max, CAREC Grounds, St Clair
Misty Ridge
Michael Headley all-inclusive, Salybia
The Beach House Carnival all-inclusive fete
V.I.P. Friday
The Atlantis Fete
Poolside all-inclusive, Hilton Trinidad
In de Sanctuary all-inclusive, Valsayn
Moka all-inclusive, Maraval
Brian Lara all-inclusive,

Soca Jam:
Caribbean Brass Festival
Customs Boys’ annual Pan-o-Brass-Pan
Soca Monarch Final
Cooler Fete, Pier 1, Chaguaramas
Caribbean Wet Fete
Army Fete
Fire Fete
Flour Mills Fete
W.A.S.A. Fete

Out Door Clubs:
Bazodee Fridays
Karma Sutura
Skin to Skin
Jamboree Park
Bacchanal Wednesday
UWI Splash Aqua Trinidad
Island People’s Girl Power
Trini Posse
Mania Country Club

Theme Fete:
Wicked in White
Island Style’s Glo
Island Style’s Mad Hatters
Eyes Wide Shut Carnivale
Country Club Carnival Friday Costume Party.

Breakfast Parties:
Sunny Side Up
Diamond Vale Breakfast Party

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Best of The Past - Cleaning and Protecting Your Costume

How To Protect and Clean Your Costume

These are some tips to keep your costume intact especially if you plan on wearing it on both Carnival Monday and Tuesday. I think it is also good advice for those who plan on storing or keeping their costume after Carnival, as the costumes do not need to be discarded after use. They can survive the rigors of wine and jam for years to come with some care.

*Seal the ends of the beads with clear nail polish or crazy glue to keep the beads from unraveling.

*If you are wearing your costume on both days and need to get the sweat off the bra the best method of cleaning them is by using a damp sponge with lukewarm water and carefully rubbing out the areas on the costume that have been close to your skin. Any stains can be removed with a stain remover like tide to go. You do not want to get the costume too wet as it needs to air dry, any heat on the costume from a dryer can loosen the glue, braiding, beads and sequins along with it. Try not to wet the beads or sequins while cleansing.

* Some sequins DO run or change colour from sweat just by wearing them. To protect the coloured sequins and beads on your costume you may want to spray the costume first with a colour sealant like Varathene. Just spray the Varathane directly onto the beads and sequins which provides a protective coat that will prevent running. The beads will seem a bit stiff after spraying but will loosen after a short time.

Varathene Spray

*No time to wash your costume? Let the costume air so that the sweat can evaporate, then spray the insides of the costume with a mixture of half vodka and half water to eliminate odours and refresh the costume. Of course Febreeze and other odour eliminating sprays will also work in a pinch. Do not spray anything directly on the costume as this might fade the beads and sequins, turn the costume inside out and then spray only the fabric.

*To deodorize the costume make sure it air dries, then place the costume in a bag or sack made from a natural, breathable fabric such as a cotton pillow case. Then put a teaspoon of baking soda in a sock and toss the sock into the pillow case along with the costume. The baking soda will absorb the stinky odors. You can do this when you get home after Monday mas when planning to wear the costume again on Tuesday or after mas on Tuesday to save your costume.

*Waterproof feathered headpieces, feathered costume details and feathered backpacks against light rain, mist from the cool zones and sweat using a waterproof spray or powder. Through my reserach I have found products recommended by Archers, however you can do more research in the area that you live for similar products.

The two waterproof sprays I have found are Gibbs Spray and Perma Dri Water Shield. And the waterproof powder is called "Fletch Dry" by Bob Rightnour and Gateway Waterproof Powder. These products are used by archers, hunters and in fly fishing to make the feathers waterproof and will work on your costume feathers as well.The powder is recommended over the spray as it adds to weight, does not stiffen the feather and you do not need to wait for the product to dry.

Gibbs Spray

Fletch Dry Powder

* To restore feathers that have gotten wet,if they have already dried put them over steam and dry with a hair dryer on cool setting. Some feathers dry stiff if they are air dried. Then lay the feathers as flat as possible and use a fine tooth comb to arrange the feathers back into their natural growth pattern.

*For costume storage ensure that the costume is not damp, it must be completely dry to prevent mildew. You can store the costume in a large ziploc bag, plastic container or cotton bag. The caveat with using anything plastic is that if there is any moisture on the costume since the container is airtight it will mildew and deteriorate the fabrics. To prevent this toss a few silica packets inside the container (you know the little packs saying "do not eat" you get with shoes and other products) , the silica absorbs moisture and and prevent damage. To ensure that the costume stays smelling fresh add a few bounce dryer sheets or the baking soda pouch in the container as well. Do not hang the costume on a hanger as the weight of the beads will cause the costume to stretch and loose shape.

The Best of The Past - Waterproofing Feathers

Waterproofing Feathers Experiment 2

BIG Thanks to CB who tested out the Fletch Dry Waterproof Powder for feathers on a headpiece this weekend, sharing the results and her photos below:


After a successful attempt at waterproofing individual feathers, I decided to do an actual headpiece, so here are some pics of my attempt:

1. Here are my materials—headpiece, plastic bag large enough to hold headpiece and seal, Fletch-Dry:

2. This is the product I used:

3. And this is the amount I started off with (remember this is a little less than a full bottle because I'd used some for my first experiment):

4. This gives an idea of the amount I used. I sprinkled some powder in the corner of the bag, I placed the headpiece into the bag, then I sprinkled some of the powder directly over the feathers, just so I could get a better idea of how much coverage I could get with the amount of powder put in the bag:

5. This is what the feathers looked like after shaking the bag to evenly distribute the powder. See how the feathers look dusty? That shakes off quickly enough, however.

6. Okay, only a few minutes later, I have the headpiece ready for "rain." Notice that the colour is back to normal after having shaken off the excess powder.

7. Now, check out how cool the water beads up and rolls off the feathers:

8. These pics are after about a minute of being placed under the water stream. See how I changed the flow from a sprinkle to a constant stream, just to test the extent of the waterproofing.

9. So, here are the feathers as they're drying. You notice that they're a bit on the spiky side. I refused to blow dry them, as most of us won't have access to a dryer on the road.

10. Now, after the feathers were completely dried, they fluffed up okay. You could tell that they'd gotten wet, but still looked nice. One thing I'd noticed was that where the water beads remained (that I'd intentionally not dried off), there was some discolouration or marks that look like burn/scorch marks. Just remember to wipe off the excess water from your feathers and you should be fine.

11. Okay, so here's the headpiece after the experiment:

Looks pretty good for a post-rain headpiece, no?

Blogger Monique had enquired whether I'd rubbed some extra powder into the barbules of the feathers. I didn't want to do this because I don't like how the powder feels on my hands, and if as I jump up all day all that excess powder begins to fall and land on my body, that might cause a skin irritation. Of course, if you make sure to shake all the excess off, I don't see why you can't perform that extra measure of protection.

Good luck and hope these pics help!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Best of The Past - When a Wine is Not a Wine!

The No Wining Rule - Ok this one is not as far back in the past as the others but I thought this was a nice follow up to the other post:

Fresh after Carnival one of my friends is clicking through the party galleries on Triniscene, comes upon a photograph of her boyfriend executing what looks like a precariously perched wine atop a drinks cooler at a fete and her blood starts to boil! Suffice to say this causes a heated argument and subsequent rift between them as the boyfriend tries to explain that the girl just “surprised” him with a wine out of the blue and that his head was not positioned to look at her posterior, as it appeared in the photo, but he was really trying to make an escape while looking for his phone to send her (the girlfriend) a text! Apart from the fact that his phone could clearly be seen in the pocket on the OTHER side of the pants ,and his excuse was the lamest ever, I was both bemused and perplexed as to why my friend got SO angry at her boyfriend that it led to a Facebook break up!

“Because we had a NO WINING rule” she explains, “a what?” I asked, “A rule that we were not going to wine on any other people for Carnival, and he told me he did not wine on anyone at that fete!!” I must also add that this fete took place before my girl friend came into the country as her boyfriend came for Carnival a few days ahead of her. And while I thought that the whole incident seemed innocent enough, I mean it IS Carnival after all, a time where some couples are excused to take a wine on any bumsee, other ladies came forward with photographic evidence of their significant others taking a wine on women for Carnival and voiced their support that a wine is not always “just a wine”!

One person I know intimated to me that a friend of his got into some serious trouble for wining on other women in his section with the girlfriend present; apparently the girlfriend got jealous! Another friend noticed that all the photos of her boyfriend for Carnival showed him taking a wine on the SAME girl at various times throughout the day, after he said he didn’t really dance with anyone! Oh and the most proactive action came when this one girl left the band she was in, trekked to another band to look for her boyfriend caught him wining on some other woman, and took him out of that situation immediately; she was not amused! The fallout of post Carnival wining with persons other than the significant other lead to some vexation I tell you!

To me the whole “rule” thing is a bit much, I would think that there would be a mutual understanding between the couple of what they both expect and would accept of the other and their behavior during Carnival that expert rules are not even needed. However clearly there are those individuals that either use Carnival as an excuse to behave as they would not normally do, get caught up in the “spirit of the season”, take advantage of the willing wines offered and just see it as a free pass to wine on anyone on that day! Not to mention that for “foreigners’ not used to the whole concept of wining on other people during Carnival the whole act can be both confusing and liberating at the same time!

I have never had a falling out over taking a wine on someone else for Carnival. I myself do not allow any random stranger to come and “wine up on me just so” and I also have parameters on the kind of wine I will allow someone who is NOT my husband to indulge in. On the flip side, my other half is not the type of person to wine wantonly on any woman that passes by during Carnival either, though I have seen photos of him taking a small wine on other women during Carnival and was not upset, I mean it IS Carnival I would be worried if he were not interested at all! At the end of it all my friend did make back up with her boyfriend, but I do know that every time she sees that photo it annoys the HELL out of her!

So, where does the culture of “freeing up” for Carnival leave a couple and their rules? Are rules really necessary and how flexible should they be? I mean, is it okay to wine on someone else if the significant other is present? Or, how about if the wine is between your partner and a mutual friend, is it OK to wine on friends? In the rules are the number of times, length and grades of wines acceptable established? As a matter of fact how many of YOU have wining rules and were there any falling outs over wining on other people this Carnival?

It is interesting to me to get other’s take on this, because I was surprised at the support for the “no wining rule” though the general consensus was that our friend did go a bit overboard by breaking up with her boyfriend over the photo of him wining on someone else during a fete; it is not as if she caught him cheating after all, it was JUST a wine during Carnival, ent?

The Best of The Past - Bringing Sand to the Beach!

Don't Bring Sand To The Beach!

People often comment on the fact that my husband and I are playing mas together, as if it is something strange. A married friend of mine says he has no problem with his wife playing mas, just not in the same BAND as him! Well, my husband and I are playing in the same band, albeit different sections, but that only came about because we both liked different costumes. To me it's not strange, my husband is my liming partner so our lime is just being extended to something we both love; Carnival.

The thing is though that many relationships and friendships do not weather Carnival, because the thinking is why bring sand to the beach?! With a plethora of beautiful men and women invading our shores for Carnival, some people are greedy, wanting to eat their cake and have it too. What do I mean you say? Well, let me explain it this way, many couples break up for Carnival only to reconcile on Ash Wednesday and long standing friendships sometimes come to an end after Carnival for the following reasons:

  • Either male or female wants to party without their significant other, which leads to accusations of ulterior motives for not wanting significant other at said party. This can also extend itself to J'ouvert and even playing mas. Big arguments occur over someone wanting to go on a boys lime or girls lime for Carnival. Worse yet you telling your boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife you DO NOT want them to play mas with you, that is serious thing!
  • Hostility and pressure from friends who don't want the significant other in tow for any Carnival related activity. See, when one person out of the crew brings along their boyfriend or girlfriend that cramps the style of the rest of the crew. They don't want that significant other to see them in their slackness i.e. wining on anyone willing and able or liming with the "outside friend" because significant other will report on their behaviour to THEIR significant others. Get the picture. So sometimes the choice comes down to friends or significant other. If you choose friends, well you in the dog house for sure! And if you choose significant other friends does be just as vex! Before I got married hubby jumped up on the road with me on Carnival Tuesday and my girl friend was quite annoyed, asking me if he was staying with us "all day". The next year she made sure she had her cousin play mas with us, so that when me and hubby chipping down the road she would not feel like the third wheel.
  • You are forbidden to play mas. Yes, it happens, imagine in this day and age when you are paying for your costume yourself, your partner is telling you they don't like the idea of you playing mas! Well, I don't have to tell you how many relationships are ended on that level of jealousy and insecurity. Some of them even want an input on exactly what costume you can and cannot wear and even how much it should cost! And you know these raging lunatics sometimes go so far as to hunt you down on Carnival Tuesday, if you decide to go ahead and play against their wishes, looking to embarrass you by dragging you out of the band! I have never witnessed this personally, but my mother told me stories of this happening back in the day.
  • Caught on camera! This happened to a friend of mine, her boyfriend was happy to "send her off" to play mas, while he sat at home and watched the parade on T.V. Well, Ms. Lady pick up a fella in the band and forget that there are cameras ON STAGE and there is her boyfriend sitting at home and seeing her crossing stage with a man putting waist on her from behind! Enough sparks flew in that house when she got home later that night, which is the worse time to try and defend yourself being drunk and tired. That was the end of THAT relationship. With all those party photographers like IslandEvents, Triniscene and Carnivalscene you have to be careful not to be caught doing something you should not be doing with someone you are not supposed to be with! If you horning, stay far from the cameras.
  • The outside man/woman gets jealous. One of the hardships of being the "other man or woman" is that you don't get to be with the person you love when you want to, seeing as they are already involved with someone else! So chances are you end up spending Christmas and New Year's Eve alone, and in Trinidad that can also mean you are alone for Carnival too. You know some couples only go out together for Carnival. They hit the tents, all-inclusive parties, even play mas together, leaving the outside woman/man on the outside! If you all think Saucy don't know what she talking about, think again!Me and hubby gone Blue Range all-inclusive where we bounce up a friend and his wife. Now, I don't ever see that friend with his wife and was quite surprised to see them together for that party knowing full well he was always with his outside woman. Anyways, we gone to get a bake and shark only to bounce up that same friend's outside woman looking blue in the face and asking us if we saw the individual with his wife! Imagine the girl vex, SO vex that she decided to make the guy jealous by liming with another fella all night. Well that drama went on for the rest of the night with me and hubby staying out of every body's way.
  • You forget Valentines day! Be prepared, in 2007 Valentines Day is on Bacchanal Wednesday. To me Valentine's is nothing special, I would be quite happy if the hubby just gets me tickets to beach house (hint hint) but other people want the whole nine yards; chocolate, dinner, roses and the undivided attention of their significant other. I know for a fact many women are left fuming when Valentine's Day rolls around close to Carnival and they cannot see or hear from their man. One year Valentines was on Carnival Monday, and all I remember was sleeping off the effects of jouvert and dirty mas in Arima by my girl friend's house when her boyfriend came late in the night with a cheap plastic rose. The cussing woke me up, because he got such a tongue lashing he retreated just as quickly as he came! Imagine he was missing in action all day only to turn up late at night with no excuse and a cheap gift. I don't know how all those couples in love will be navigating Valentines day for 2007, I wish allyuh luck!
  • Your partner does not understand our culture. It's one thing to want to bring your non-Trinidadian significant other to Carnival, but before you do please explain to them what they should expect. People who are not used to "our ting" do not expect people to be so overly friendly come Carnival, and next thing you know you are being accused of flirting! Worse yet if you "tief" a wine at a party or on the road for Carnival, are too friendly smearing paint on other bodies during jouvert or you want to lime with friends you have not seen in a while on the road; significant other might feel oh so left out. Think carefully before inviting them home to Carnival with you, especially if it is a jealous, possessive type!

I hope all the relationships out there are strong enough to survive Carnival, do not say you have not been warned on the possibilities that can occur. Trust, understanding and respecting your partner will see you through every temptation that Carnival throws at you. When Carnival is over, you still want to be with that person, so don't do anything that you will regret. For those who are coming from overseas and leaving a significant other behind, make sure you have a very understanding partner and don't do anything when you get to Trinidad that you would be ashamed of them finding out.

And for all those couples playing mas together, wheter in the same section or band, remember Carnival is a time of freedom, don't shadow him/her all day. Give them some space and don't get vex if they take a lil small wine here and there (make sure you impress upon them the limits of that "small" wine though!) and know that at the end of the day they are going home with YOU.

No need for break ups and heart aches during this festive time, if your man/woman leaves you because they "not taking sand to the beach" don't sit at home and mope. Find yourself to the nearest mas camp, buy a costume, hit all the fetes leading up to the big day with your friends and forget that worries, after all it's Carnival!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Au Courant Mas 2011

Well, well well.. just when you thought you heard about the last of new bands for Carnival 2011 comes a competitor, entering in the late half! Fashion, Art and Media all wrapped up in a costume presentation? Well that is what Au Courant Mas promises; see more on their website.

Au Courant is a Virtual Studio focused on creating Fashion+Art+Media projects.

For our first major exhibition, we have chosen to stage a Performance Art Presentation in Trinidad + Tobago for the annual Carnival celebrations and parades.

Working in the medium of Mas, and using couture hand-sewing techniques + sculptural approaches, our presentation is an avant-garde, movable take on the cyclical nature of life.

THE CYCLE - A Play in Five Acts - will be set in motion by our players; an intimate + select group of creatives, bold individuals and 'Mas' men + women' who will take to the streets on Carnival Monday + Tuesday during March of 2011.

Each elaborate piece is fully crafted by hand in limited numbers, and are fully built by Au Courant Studio in NC, USA and St. James, Trinidad + Tobago.

To keep a smooth, seamless movement of THE CYCLE through Port-of-Spain, Au Courant will be traversing the wide roads and the winding paths with:

- Fully Catered Service (Breakfast, Lunch + Evening Eats)
- Premium Drinks
- Street Security
- An International + Local Mix of Pumping Sounds
- Complimentary Gifts
- Special Au Courant Items
- Pre-Carnival Costume Fittings
- Private Members Events + Performances

And other on-the-move treats + post-Carnival indulgences...

The Best of The Past - Backline B.A.B.E.

What a big tease it is to see all these fabulous frontline costumes, that all bands are catering to, knowing that for most of the masqueraders in the band these costumes are out of reach either because of price or because of the limited spaces available. It seems as if Frontline Fever has gripped female masqueraders, on every message board and amidst chatter on which sections are the most wanted EVERYONE is announcing that they are playing frontline.

There are not enough frontline costumes to meet the demand and besides if everyone plays frontline then there would be no backline would there? Reality is that the frontline's appeal is the fact that it is limited, too many frontline costumes and the frontline H.O. no longer feels "special". The more people clamoring to get into the limited frontline costumes the more it pushes the price up!

So, what is a Backline Betty to do when her only choice is to be regaled to being a floor member in the showgirl's presence? Well a group of Backline Bettys have united to reinvent the persona and perception of the "ordinary" costume, their goal is to make the Backline Betty JUST as FAB as her frontline sister and have more fun doing so!

The first step these ladies took was to discard the "Betty"; "Betty" is the girl who grasps her hair up in a pony tail, sprinkles on the glitter dust from her costume box, puts on her costume and hits the streets. Backline Betty has been retired!! No longer will the supporting character to the Frontline H.O. (High maintenance Overachiever) be referred 

1.Backline is a state of mind, B.A.B.E. is the standard by which I shall execute my fabulosness!

2. The B.A.B.E. has not spent the extra money on FL there fore splurge on the makeup, lashes and put the glitter in glittericious!! Being a DIVA is not reserved for only the frontline! Spend the savings on accessories!

3. Speaking of accessories, matching footwear is a must. A Backline B.A.B.E. must have the appropriate FAB footwear to match her equally FAB costume. Whether it’s boots or sneakers, make sure it matches and make sure it is FAB!!.

4. Being a B.A.B.E. does not equal being stush. Your job is to brandish that backside, revel in the fact that there are no obstructions to the measures and skills of your winery!

5. Make it your duty to take a wine on all the fine men that will come your way, while the FL might get more photos, the men flock to the B.A.B.E. because she is unencumbered by a backpack to jook out his eye or a headpiece to give him a mouthful of feathers! Throw your waist! But remember not because you are a B.A.B.E. that every Tom.Dick and Harry can wine on you, have your limits!!

6. Traverse the band showcasing your fabulosity, after all it’s more of us, we cover more ground. Do not shy away from the camera, showcase the Bodaciousness in B.A.B.E.

7. Some may turn their noses up at the B.A.B.E. because she is in the back, kindly smile and say “I am FAB as is, I don’t need extra embellishments to make me feel better about myself”

8. B.A.B.E.s choose the costume they love, not the one the crew likes. Don’t be pressured into thinking that FL is the place to be. B.A.B.E.s spend less money for the same experience. B.A.B.E.s are the smart ones!

9. Ensure that the B.A.B.E. is on point at all times. While B.A.B.E.s have more fun,it should look effortless, which means no sweaty faces, ripped stockings or costumes falling apart.Keep it together!

10. Lastly remember your FL sisters, although it is not your style, it is hers, respect her space and demand that she respects yours!

Trinidad Carnival Diary Presents the Best of The Past

I am taking a walk down memory lane for the Blog Posts over the next few days as many of the new readers of Trinidad Carnival Diary May have missed some of the earlier articles from the days of Pretti Dolli and Hottie Hottie. The days when we all got that this was not about taking ourselves seriously but really the coming together of a diverse group of Mas Lovers who finally had a "voice". By the way Dolli, you are missed! I am going to feature some of the more popular articles, the ones I consider to be the best of that time! Hope you enjoy it.

So, the ode to the archives of this blogs kicks off today starting with The Ten Commandments of Frontline H.O.Ism

If you want to see the original post, and comments, just click the underlined link above.

Prettidolli was kind enough to define "H.O." for me a while ago since I was using the term more like "HO" leaving out the periods which changes the meaning to something much less glamorous. Her definition is that a H.O. is a HIGHMAINTENANCE OVERACHIEVER, if you have never heard this used in a sentence such as "I am a front line H.O." you are probably quite lost as to what I am speaking about.

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FRONTLINE H.O.ism according to Prettidolli:

1. Swear to be the best FRONTLINE H.O., giving the cameras all de H.O., and nothing but de non-stop H.O.. So help yuh Jesus/Krishna/Ram & Sita/(Insert deity here) Represent your band and PLAY YOURSELF to de FULLEST!

2. Do your best to make certain you do not look a hot, sweaty, and ghetto mess! That means makeup and all body embellishments should remain intact. Dis ent de backline yuh know....LOL!

3. Do not neglect your section or your admirers under ANY circumstances! They don't make de H.O. but they damn sure can break de H.O.. Be friendly, smile, chat, and oblige de nice folks who are mesmerized by your divadom and fabulousness. Take photos, lime, flirt, hug up de chirren, socialize, LIVE IT UP! It IS Carnival after all!

4. Bless all man jack in de place with a deadly but posh cheesecutter wine when yuh pelting waist. BLESS DEM WID SWEET WAIST!! Yes, I said p-o-s-h. If yuh want dutty wine, stay in de back with Backline Betty and dem... You should be Helen Keller deaf by Ash Wednesday b/c your crystals made plenty noise going, "WHIP WHAP WHIP WHAP!"

5. Pose and smile in style without twisting up yuh body and skinning yuh blasted teeth like a flipping jack-o-lantern. Is February not Obzokee(sp)October... The ideal pose is for the body to be fairly centered with a natural, non-forced smile without the slightest hint of desperation. A true frontline H.O. knows how to make tweet, tweet luuuuv to the camera.

6. On a more serious note, H.O.'s MUST have their hygiene in tact! This means, removal of all unsightly body hair, no visible underarm deodorant, no halitosis, no lipstick/goop on or in teeth, no poorly positioned pantyliners. Believe me, I have seen this and have gone Helen Keller b-l-i-n-d right on Carnival Tuesday. Why play yuhself frowsy in a $1K mas?Allyuh get meh point...

7. Make certain that your band's security can control yuh property. Make a FRIEND in security, it helps! As an ultra, ubersexy, divalicious F.H.O men (and some women) will attempt to rush your band to get more than just a glimpse of you. And why not? The poor souls simply cannot help themselves! IS YOU GYAL IS YOU! This is where security comes in to keep you safe and bum's rush free. Is not just sweet man...vagrants does tief ah wine too yuh know?(Psst! Security can also babysit your stilettos until it's time to cross de Grand Stage.) Check on it.

8.IGNORE DE FRIGGING CUT-EYE. Let's just face it, many do aspire to H.O., but few do achieve. The hateration screw face and cut-eye is alive and well. Meh granny does say that red costumes does decrease de maljo. The Devil is a liar! Don't hate, congratulate, lift, separate...Two snaps, allll of that.

9. Be a Benz, Beemer, not a Pinto screamer. F.H.O's take pride in themselves. Facials, manicures, yoga, gym classes, discipline, nutrition, and exercise are mandatory. If your love handles are dragging on the floor behind you and there are flats in you Michelin tire, de H.O. is NOT for you...Leff de H.O. alone! (Please see appendix for B.M., aka Bullet hole Mampie.)

10. The best F.H.O's have a heart as magnanimous as their Carnival persona. This means respect your fellow masqueraders and other bands while you are on the road. A cussing, swearing jammette does not a F.H.O make! Do not be a pretender to the throne. I tend to buy extra pieces of inexpensive jewelry to give away to de sweet lil' H.O.'s in training who beg for pieces of your costume. I've even given some of my lunches, snacks, and drinks away to the homeless folks who "try a ting" with these overstocked and overloaded bands on de road. Carnival is a time of joy and giving. Do so act like so!
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