About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

Healthy Eating in the Southland - The GoSmart Food Company

It's been a while. I have totally broken my 2015 resolution to have at least one blog entry a week with my absence but real life calls. Today was no exception and with a full day, which meant I was up at the crack of dawn (okay, not quite but 6.30am on my day off is pretty early) and out of the house with just a slice of toast in my stomach. Thinking ahead though, I ordered a meal from The GoSmart Food Company - a door-to-door delivery service providing healthy gourmet meals. Their website describes the approach best

We exist to provide healthy gourmet food to our clients in a way that is convenient, utilising smarter choices and clean eating concepts. We believe that if you live smarter, you will indeed live a better life.
Our philosophy is that when you decide to GoSmart you are making a lifestyle choice as eating healthily should be a way of life and not a fast-track approach to weight loss.

But the BEST part of it all - they are based in SOUTH TRINIDAD!!! I always love when I can get great food options on my side of the island, and so hell yeah, I was going to support.Because I work in Port of Spain, the window of opportunity for trying this out would be small to nil, but I knew I would be in San Fernando all day and eventually would feel the hunger worms biting, so I placed an order yesterday for delivery today.

The service delivers to clients in San Fernando and surrounding areas, and because I also do not live in San Fernando (the universe is really against me here), but would be doing business in the area, my delivery was planned accordingly.



So how was it? The meal was excellent. It was fresh, wholesome, very filling, well packaged. On the menu today - Rainbow prawn with stir fried kale and bok choy, with ginger-garlic rice noodles, and a light mango and coconut mousse.







This is such a great service for Southerners who may not, like me, cook all their lunch-time meals during the week but still want to eat clean and be healthy. It is convenient as all you have to do is use the order form, drop them a message via their Facebook page, or give them a ring and the food is brought to you. No traffic, no fuss. It's great. I wish them all the best as they continue to make great meals for the great people of San Fernando.

You can check out The GoSmart Food Company -
Website - www.gosmartfood.co
Facebook - The GoSmart Food Company
Email: orders@gosmartfood.co
Tel: 397-6278


I am NOT the Biggest Loser

I fell in love with mixed greens and
did a lot of fresh veggies (that's not canned corn, friends)
and paired them with regular stuff like beans
and lean meats/chicken
The Biggest Loser Challenge at work ended a couple weeks ago. I did not win the prize. But I guess the real victory was getting off the couch and getting off the doughnuts. The competition was super fierce. There were people taking 3 spin classes a day and stuff like that, and eating just a banana for breakfast, with water for the rest of the day.

In the end I lost 11.5 lbs through hard work, sweat and a healthy diet.

I did not starve myself. I always had a full breakfast, with 2 egg whites, a roll and a smoothie...okay okay, and coffee. I had a fresh lunch and would keep dinner as light as possible, without starving myself.

I did not go to the gym 3 times a day. I went once a day and did what my body could manage in the time I have before work.

I cut out snacking, consumed more fruits and vegetables, more raw foods.

I challenged myself to make salads that were fun and exciting, because I have always had a love/hate relationship with salads.

I did not get as much sleep as I should have, and this has always been my downfall, but I still felt better.

I did it for myself really - to win was always a goal as well but really, I knew it was necessary. So cheers!

Love is the Greatest Adventure - TW Wed-Zine 2015

Behind the scenes of the TW Wed-Zine photo shoot
Photo credit: Antony Scully
So have you started planning your wedding?
More than half of single women have already planned their wedding before they have found a groom...
Millions of women still looking for 'Mr Right' have researched elements churches, flowers, reception venues, bridesmaids dresses and the car which will take them to the church.
...nearly two thirds of single females have planned their wedding day since they were a child.
And 34 per cent of unspoken-for women regularly browse the web for inspiration on flowers, dresses and elaborate venues.
- Findings of an Interflora survey in the UK, as reported by The Telegraph.

As a single gal, I can attest to this, and unashamedly. A woman's wedding day is something that has its genesis from perhaps as early as when she got her first doll. Whether it is a lavish 600 guests-strong affair, a simple beach wedding, a subdued civil ceremony or an intimate destination wedding, a woman's special day is something she has been planning in one form or another, for years.

When the question has finally been popped, the real work begins - taking the childhood dream from an idea to reality. A lot of times, the dream has been formed through media experiences - what a girl sees on tv, or in the movies, or in glossy foreign magazines. For local couples though, the search for ideas, concepts and recommendations is much closer than they think.

Trinidad Weddings has just released its latest issue of its increasingly popular TW Wed-Zine - a top resource for brides- and grooms-to-be (yes, grooms plan too), and is an official how-to, go-to, what-to for weddings in 2015. Also popular among wedding vendors, planners and students, the TW Wed-Zine is not only a great resource, but it is a locally produced resource and one that is of an exceptional standard.

TW Wed Zine 2015

TW Wed Zine 2015

The beautiful brides of the TW Wed Zine 2015 cover
Photo Credit: Aarti Gosine

I love that one gets a full feel of what a wedding can be - from the international trends to what can be delivered locally from industry experts. Editor and founder, Simone Sant-Ghuran launched the 2015 magazine recently at ZaZou Bistro Moderne at the Trinidad Country Club, which in my estimation, oozes love and romance so it was a perfect venue to talk love, marriage...

...and adventure.
This year, the magazine’s theme of “Love is The Greatest Adventure” ties in with an emphasis on outdoor weddings. This issue features several take-your-breath-away love stories from deep in Tobago’s mangrove, a Port of Spain hill top, a rustic log cabin, the Temple By The Sea at sunset, the Wild Fowl Trust, a residential garden and even, the first Catholic wedding held “down the islands.”
TW Wed-Zine Founder and Editor, Simone Sant-Ghuran at the mag launch at ZaZou Bistro
Beautiful dress by CLD - Charu Lochan Dass and accessories by Rachel Rochford

Roses and chocolate at the mag launch - what says love better?
Flowers provided by Latitude 0 and Floral Artistry by Flowers to Treasure
Chocolate Tarts provided by the awesome team at ZaZou Bistro Moderne

Weddings are not all cut from the same cloth and the magazine recognises that couples all want something unique to them. The assortment of wedding stories and ideas can only help the excited lovebirds to refine what they want out of their big day - or at least one hopes, if they are not like me - always overly excited about the choices available.

But it is a must-buy I think. I don't know of anyone who has been married, who has planned their wedding, and who has not referred to someone or something to bring their wedding dream to reality. Love is an adventure and planning a wedding should be an adventure - a good one. There was one day in London, a friend decided she just wanted to go try on wedding dresses. Neither of us were engaged - hell, neither of us were dating. But it was great fun telling the salesgirls about the dream wedding neither of us were having - at the time, But hope for the day is alive. Every girl has that dream wedding in their minds, and I think TW Wed-Zine is an amazing ride for those chasing the dream.

-----
  • This year, readers anywhere in the world can also purchase a hardcopy if they wish. Both the digital and hardcopy versions can be purchased HERE.
  • The TW Wed-Zine is sold at 30 retailers throughout Trinidad and Tobago
  • For more visit the website - www.trinidadweddings.com 
  • Check out the behind the scenes video for the Love is the Greatest Adventure themed cover below.


My (Somewhat) New Role as a Big Sister

For those who may not know me, I am a big sister. I have one sibling - a younger brother. We used to fight, make up, watch tv together, go out together, participate in kitchen adventures together, meaning I would cook and he would eat. Being a big sister to him, as annoying and vexing as he can be at times, is a great thing. He is super lucky to have a sister like me. lol

Now, I am a Big Sister again. This time, it is to someone I only met this week and whom I am just getting to know.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am finally participating in the Big Brother/Big Sister Programme, with the Heroes Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago. I am matched with a Little through the Foundation's new Corporate Workplace Mentoring model, which facilitates the recruitment  of Bigs from one organisation and brings the Bigs and Littles together in the workplace, albeit in a non-stifling, casual setting. It can be really hard for corporate types to make time to volunteer. Personally, my work days start when I open my eyes at 3am and they end when I get home some 16 hours later. My weekends can often be a rush, so carving out the time at work is perfect for me. For those of you out there, who want to give back but struggle with being available and committed, this could work for you.

I was soooooo excited about this, I cannot tell you. I have always wanted to participate in this programme after hearing of the heartwarming and fulfilling experiences from others who were part of similar programmes overseas. I was a teenager once, believe it or not, and remember some of the angst, the confusion, the pressure of transitioning from girlhood to womanhood. I had the support of family and at school, we also had the support of our 8-hour mothers - our teachers. But there was nothing quite as powerful as having someone who looked like me, sounded like me and who went through the same trials and joys as I did, reach out and offer words of support and advice - not as a teacher or a priest, but as a friend.

So being a Big Sister is my way of paying it forward to a young woman who is just where I was at that age - trying to find her own space in the world. I am thankful for all the influences I have had in my own life and having never had a little sister, I was really excited about being offered this great opportunity.

So I met my Little Sister this past week and she is so cute. I had asked that I be matched with someone creative, who likes the arts, music, books and the like. Someone not too quiet as I am chatty. She is an amazingly talented artist - she sketched for me and she is really good. She loves to sing and she loves music so in that regard, we are exactly the same. However, I do not like Ariana Grande - she is a teenager so I will give her that. We both like sports but she likes playing sports while I am a mere albeit often obsessed spectator. She likes languages, as do I. She likes to write, but not to read -an odd fact I thought but that is who she is. She wants to see the world with the Maldives being at the top of her list and she was not impressed that I travel regularly but that I had not yet been to her top spot. We learnt some more about each other, realised we have quite a lot in common.

I am not surprised by that because the process to become a Big Sister is a rigorous one. Besides all the screening to ensure you are not a felon, there is a deep dive interview where the coordinators get to REALLY know you so they can match you with the Little most suited to your personality. The Little also undergoes this deep dive because the matching is so important.

In the end, I have a new Little Sister who is smart and lovely and talented and who I am really excited to get to know. My Little and I will be matched for about a year and will see each other twice a month. So far, she seems to like me and I like her, so cheers to that!

All the Big Sisters at work are excited and so are our Littles. Nothing beats volunteering, in a way that is meaningful to you. Whether it is reading to the elderly, helping a young person in life, building homes or helping an NGO with their accounting, their marketing or governance, or in whatever your professional area of expertise may be - there is nothing quite like paying it forward. Looking forward to a great year!

Learn more about the Heroes Foundation
Learn more about the Foundation's BBBS Programme
Follow them on Facebook
Read more about their Corporate Workplace Mentoring

Fat Girl Problems

After the gym, sometimes breakfast has to be quick
aka smoothie alert. Blueberry and almond protein smoothie
Trying to lose weight is a real nightmare. Putting it on is fun and easy. Date nights with girlfriends, with those yummy cocktails and cute fried appetisers; along with rich entrees and decadent desserts. Weekend stay-ins with Netflix and shrimp fries with Thai sweet chili sauce. The real killer - work events - schmooze and lose...lose your willpower to resist glasses of great wine and bite sized goodies that demand you pop another and another and another. Family get-togethers, where there is always food, always a lot of alcohol and aunties watching you cross-eyed if you try to politely refuse.

But when you are trying to get all this excess baggage off your body, not that easy. The early morning wake up calls to unwillingly subject oneself to cardio and other torture devices, or to try to get a workout outdoors before the morning heat and glare get the better of you.

Last night the family got together for a good ole family time. I drank nothing and when offered a plate heaping with roti and curry - my kryptonite - I politely (yeah, that is my excuse) ate the vegetables, a bit of the chicken and gave my mother 95% of the rest. Nightmare.

It has been tough going but the competition element of it has been keeping me really honest. The first couple of weeks, I admit, I had chips once in a while. But I have been super good this past week and for good reason. The people at work are hard core in trying to win this thing and I see my chances of winning slipping away. But I am still doing it because it needs to be done and I need to do it for myself. Still...winning would be nice.

The numbers thing is always complicated. I hate scales and on my second weigh in, the weight numbers were up ever so slightly but the fat percentage was down. This is apparently a good thing, but when you have been programmed to count just the pounds/kg, it can be a bit of a buzzkill. But rallying.

Eating lots of salads and veggies, soups (I love soups so this is easy) and cut out the sugar and the snacks. The snacks have always been my problem so this is a small miracle. No cake. No cookies. No chips. No Haagie. Lots of water, tea and my post-workout smoothies. Getting more sleep, though still not enough. The hardest part has probably been trying to keep my meals fun and creative. I am not one for those crazy diets - onion soup diets or liquid diets. I eat like a real person, just without an excess of the "fun" stuff. Food should never be boring, even if one is trying to be healthy.

Part of my weekly supermarket stash last weekend. Fruits and stuff for teas, fruit juices and smoothies.
Greens for salads.


Chicken quesadillas and greens for dinner. Salad by itself - not food. That's torture...

...unless the salad is epic like this one - mixed greens, grated carrots, roasted onions,
chopped black grapes, pommerac, homemade garlic croutons, and some baked chicken.

So wish me luck. The battle wages on. Another weigh in this week so game on!

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