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.

When 2012 was no more

It's the day before the start of a new year (except for places like Australia...so impatient those Aussies), and I guess many people are sitting around reflecting on the last 12 months. I could do one of those cliched year in review round-ups, but who has the time? lol.

Instead, I will just say, 2012 was a good year and as I get older I realise that any year that you get through in one piece is a damn good one. I know so many people who have encountered loss and sadness in 2012, and I am so grateful for the many mercies bestowed on me that I cannot sit here and gripe about a year that saw me in my cap and gown walking across the stage with the other postgrads, in a job when so many of my class were still job hunting, fat, when so many have no food - hey, gotta find the positives!!

So what about 2013? Well, the number 13 always strikes fear into the hearts of many, but you have to make your own luck and as I told a friend last week, you have to make your own way and your own happiness. So I am hoping to be happy...happier in 2013.

Maybe a couple more trips...

Maybe more reading, especially as my girlfriend will be hand delivering my birthday present this week. I finally got this, after much resistance, but the traditional way is taking up way too much space in my house!!!

Maybe more writing...

Definitely more sweating and less eating and drinking. I will not be buying new clothes (ha! good one!)

Hopefully more single girl adventures...

It's really just about making the next 12 months better than the last, and to be happy, be a better person - a good daughter, sister, aunt, friend - and to keep it movin'...in the right direction.

Hope everyone has a great 2013 as well. I surely look forward to reading all about it.

I Survived Christmas

My awesome Christmas tree
Yes. I did. I have the battle scars to prove it.

So Christmas has come and gone and the day itself was pretty cool. The nephew came over pretty early to open his presents, which were all under my avant garde, unconventional Christmas tree. But put some lights on a thing, and any kid would love it. That kid is really good at ripping stuff up so watching him open his presents was a treat. Funny, he was more interested in scamming bits of turkey from his grandmother than he was with any of the presents he had just opened. Kids.

The rest of the day was spent with family, eating, drinking and laughing. Oh the drinking. I usually do not drink a whole lot cause I am usually out, and usually driving myself home. But stick me on a chair with nowhere to go, and the merlot kept flowing. A lovely merlot I had gotten as a gift. I don't get drunk, but rather I get very sleepy and I was soon dead to the world on the couch, with noone being able to resuscitate me. lol

It was a good break from all the work at the office. Whereas most people are kinda on auto pilot at work in the last 2 weeks of the year, I seem to be on overdrive, so the down time is so appreciated.

Today I food shop - as I am having friends over tomorrow (still no idea what I am cooking so this may be a long visit to Hi-Lo); think of some serious 2013 KPIs for my life - as I need to ensure things keep moving in my life; primp - as I have a function to attend later; and hopefully sneak in some sleep - as I once again, am suffering from insomnia on the one day I can actually sleep as long as I want to.


Christmas Rage

Bad Santa - No wonder this guy was in a bad mood
There is road rage and then there is Christmas rage, and this is a phenomenon which I have been paying close attention to in recent years, because it  baffles me that we sing carols about peace and love, and then want to body slam another human being for a parking spot or the last action figure in the toy store.

I have seen it all in the past couple weekends, but this weekend was especially ridiculous, as grown men honked their horns at grannies, rushing them to get the hell out of the precious parking space in the mall carpark. Mothers cutting into line ahead of others, in a bid to pay for their item so they can rush around to another store like headless chickens. People just seem angrier and not happier and cheerier.

I will admit, I had my brief moment as well. I don't like those people who come into an already volatile environment aka the mall on the weekend before Christmas, with no purpose other than to just stand around. Hello? While I think it is cute that you want to bring your kids to take photos in front of the Christmas tree during the holidays, this was certainly not the weekend for it. I mean, not even Santa was in the mall on Saturday cause clearly the old guy is not suicidal. Standing aimlessly in store entrances and in the middle of the foot traffic, just taking photos, when people want to get through and get out, is well...it's annoying. Cute kids cannot save you here.

That being said though, I am glad the nonsense, i.e. the mindless mall trawling, toy shop stalking, picture posing, mall mobbing nonsense is almost over and hopefully everyone's Christmas Day will be what it should be - a day of love and family and togetherness.

Merry Christmas from the snarkiest of them all - moi.

CNN made me cry - Sandy Hook Tragedy

Sandy Hook teddy bears - remembering...
Today as I sat watching CNN, for a second time in as many days, the broadcast made me cry. No matter where you live or what you do, the senselessness of this tragedy is so beyond anything any of us could have ever imagined. I watched as families, friends and well wishers consoled each other. I watched as the school principal's husband spoke about his wife, and with him being much older than her, how he had believed he would be leaving their home to her and their kids and grandkids to enjoy. "I did not think it would be me. I don't think I can do this" before he and her daughter broke down. The President's own reflections and emotion as he called each of the 20 names of the angels whom "God has called home".

But it was the faces of the kids, who would not enjoy Christmas, would not receive the presents they had asked Santa for, who would not see another Thanksgiving or Halloween or birthday.

I celebrated my own birthday this week and believe me, this is something I never take for granted. This thing called life. As I sat in my hotel room on Friday night, coming from a night out, I cried for these children who will never fulfil the potential so many would have seen in them, and who would never marvel at the life moments that they would have created, the experiences and triumphs, the heartbreak and failures, the joy, love and happiness of a life well lived. As I reflected on my own life's journey and thanked God for the blessing, I thought of these little faces and the life snuffed out from their bodies too soon. Little Ana Marquez-Greene whose singing in a home movie, would now be limited to that movie. Or Jack Pinto who was a star wrestler, even at 6 years old.

Six years old. It is incomprehensible to me that someone would be so evil or so incapable of knowing better, for whatever reason, as to look into the eyes of the innocent and pull the trigger, ending a life before it had even started. I listen to friends - parents themselves - who tweeted and updated today that they held their kids tight before sending them off to school, not with the usual heavy heart of temporary separation, but with a heart filled with dread and terror. Is this the way we want to live? Is this the life we have promised our children? As a non-parent, is this a world I want to bring children into?

I pray for these families - both of the children, and the 6 amazing women who gave their lives to ensure dozens more could go home to their mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. And for the remaining members of the perpertrator's family - victims themselves. The world mourns with Newtown. Our hearts break with this community, and my own prayers are with each and every family, and for the world we live in.

LinkedIn or Link Up?: Woes of the Single Professional

LinkedIn Dating? Really?
Photo credit: Business Insider
Two entries in one day - how lucky you are!

I am sure many of you, at one time or another, have been virtually accosted by strange men or women on social networking sites, whether it is Facebook, or to a lesser extent Twitter (if you have a Twitter hook up story, please share). I have had friends of friends hit me up for dates and stuff on Facebook, though why they feel Facebook is a dating site is a bit beyond me.

However, I did not think that I would get date requests and be hit up on freakin' LinkedIn. LinkedIn - the social networking site for business. The site where you clean up well, with a nice professional looking photo, and you talk shop with your peers, try to make connections, and look for new opportunities. That was what I thought it was for. So imagine my dismay to find a connection request from some random guy, and a note that was anything but business-driven, unless the business he is in is matchmaking, pimping or soft porn. To make matters worse, he listed his actual job, and has a photo - though the photo itself was more Facebook party time, than business.

Is this what we have come to? Trolling any and every site for a hook up? Maybe he felt that he can find a good wife - employed and possibly a sugar mama type. But I was totally unimpressed. Totally.

Then I remembered this.

There is a REAL market out there for people looking for professionals as matches and I am not disagreeing with this, and this service does not open up all of LinkedIn for the lonely hearts out there which is good. I would then suggest people like Mr Wonderful sign up for this, and not use general LinkedIn as a meat market. Most of us are really not using it for that. Or are we???

Great Pizza is Back: Bacco Pizzeria Italiana

The wood burning pizza oven
Photo credit: Bacco Trinidad
When my girlfriend and her husband decided to return to Trinidad from Italy, in addition to the warm and fuzzy friend feeling, there was also a deeper, more primal longing and sense of relief - the return of good Italian pizza.

Since they have left, we have improved on the Italian food front here in Trinidad, with places like Buzo and Emiliana, but in the Southland, if you wanted a pizza and did not want to drive, your choices were still nasty commercial American pizza (Pizza Hut, Domino's) or "face the oven" homemade pizza, which I had last week and it was great!

(My homemade pizza is da truth!)

Anyway, Bacco Pizzeria Italiana opened last night and before the first bag of flour could be opened, I was there with the troops. And believe me when I say, there is no bias or favouritism here, but the pizzas are just damn good. See for yourself.

My proscuitto e funghi pizza

Salmone pizza

Diavolo pizza

There was a steady stream of pizza lovers coming in to the place but I feel like I need to say something here cause when one of the patrons who had ordered this awesome looking and awesome smelling pizza, called for KETCHUP, I thought I would jump over the table and strangle him myself. Trinis' fascination and sloppy habit of putting ketchup on pizza (or on anything for that matter), really bites me.

Other than that moment of lunacy, it was a lovely evening and now knowing that I do not have to brave the highway just to get a taste of Italy, I welcome Bacco and the Montis with open arms!

You can find Bacco Pizzeria Italiana at 183 SS Erin Road, Duncan Village, San Fernando.

The Day Before December

December approacheth...
I cannot believe we are closing in on the end of 2012 already. With the last day of November coming to a close, and with bad memories thanks to JC Penney and their crap service, I look towards December with a mixture of hope and intense dread.

December is my birthday month, to start, and who does not like their birthday? Sure, there will be the nosy relatives who will remind me that I am one year older and still unmarried and childless, and that irritates me to no end. Still, it's my birthday so I always aim to make it a happy time, always grateful for making it to another year when so many people have not.

There are all these Christmas events I find myself having to go to - like children's parties (shoot me now) and hob nobbing events, which require dresses and self-restraint at all levels. Thankfully dresses are out of the way this time around but the events are still there and I will try my darndest to avoid half, if not all of them.

Christmas. Ugh. Even in searching for a Google image for December,all the images were of Santa, or some reindeer or an elf or some shit. I am trying to be a good soldier with the Christmas thing. I actually looked at...wait for it...Christmas trees today. I feel like I owe it to my nephew to make Christmas bright and happy, especially as my brother will not be home for Christmas. So I saw this little tree -a few feet high - and considered buying it and some decorations so we could have some fun putting that together and make some memories. I will get the tree next weekend when I go back.

But Christmas can be annoying and it can also be very lonely and it's a big MEH for me. I don't look forward to it. It's one of those holidays that seems to isolate single people, or people without kids. It's just another day for me and until such time as that changes, these day before December posts will be pretty much in this tone and with these sentiments.

Santa can go bite himself!

Lunching Italian Style at Wild Olive

My Fettucini al pesto con pollo at Wild Olive Italian Bistro
It has been a while. So sorry. I always have the best intentions - a real mind and heart are willing but body is not type thing.

Anyway, one thing I do every day besides work, is eat. Food is just one of those things that you cannot escape unless you're a rock. A new Italian bistro called Wild Olive recently opened  in Chaguanas. I love Italian food, and it was closer to home than going to Port of Spain, so I decided to check it out for lunch on my day off today.

The welcome was warm (really sweet young man, who really should be put to work inside cause he is just too cute and adorable) and I chose to dine inside, but there is a nice patio area for dining if you wish. Inside was small but comfy, and I settled in with a menu cause I was starving.

All in all, it was not bad, though there were a few issues.

- Not sure if there was an embargo on the bread but 2 small slices of bread (not even as big as my clenched fist) in a basket clearly meant for at least 8 slices - just not happening. If it's one thing you normally get a lot of, it's the bread! So as hungry as I was, this bread left me even hungrier as all it did was open my appetite.

- The waitress had come to me seconds after I was seated which was good, but of course I had not even picked up the menu yet so I asked for a couple of minutes. This turned into about 10-15 minutes, after which I had to actually signal the waitress just standing idly by in the corner. I mean, c'mon... I must though refer to cute and adorable guy (the one who welcomed me), who probably noticed my annoyance from outside and came in to check on me. The dude's talents are being wasted standing at the little welcome area!!

- The eternal wait for the drink. I was prepared to wait for the food but how long does a sangria take to make? Judging by the fact that the drink and the food came together, I am guessing they planned it that way. Ummm...no. Bring the drink. Don't make me wait.

- I ordered the fettucini al pesto con pollo, which was tasty but very salty. Very salty.

- Not a very big deal but there was no offer of cheese for my pasta. Okay...it's a big deal. No parmesan? Nah man. lol.

The Trinirinha or as I call it, the Ice-a-rinha.
I had not even sipped this yet eh.
- I have not had a caipirinha since I got back from London, so the trinirinha on the menu had to be tried. It could use a bit more love (and liquid), less ice. If I wanted to pay $45 for ice, I would have asked for ice.

Great start, and I am sure they will get better. I hope they will. The menu has some great options, though maybe some pizzas would add a bit more variety for those who may not necessarily want pasta. The paninis are also a great start. I would visit again, but maybe after they have gone through the teething process.

Find God's Match For You

Christian love. All kinda love.
So when I see this Christian Mingle ad, I always have a laugh. The people who came up with this marketing campaign are pretty bold, pretty out there. To confidently promote this online dating service for Christians, with the tagline – Find God’s match for you – well, that takes some balls.

It always conjures up this image of God relaxing on the patio, in his robe and warm slippers, with a cappuccino, maybe a croissant or a Danish, maybe a cigar (hey, they started it), with his iPad or Galaxy Tab, going through his list of Christians looking for love and matching Joe with Jill, Brad with Melanie – all before he gets to the real work of blessing people, curing the sick, etc.

I mean – seriously, people. Find God’s match for you? Who came up with this? Who approved this marketing campaign?

I am curious as to the algorithm that matches the ones seeking love on this site. I mean, did an Archbishop somewhere get a memo from God which he then shared with IT developers? What if the love-seeker is not a Christian? Does the person get zapped while trying to sign up?

God's message in your inbox?
I have absolutely no problem with a niche-specific dating site – black singles, gay singles, Caribbean singles, etc. You want what you want, and if you can trim the fat and get to the meat of the matter, right down to brass tax, right down to your target niche, whether it is a black guy, Caribbean girl or Christian single, then great. However, I just found the advertising for this to be a bit ludicrous. Find God’s match for you. I wonder if they got God’s okay to use his name in these ads! It’s almost as stupid as God’s and Jesus’ Facebook and Twitter profiles. Who does these things?

But more importantly, and for all the non-Christian minglers out there - does this mean that Match and e-Harmony are the other guy’s sites? I mean, as if dating was not traumatic enough!

Ladies - Are you suffering from the "It All Belongs to Me" Dilemma?

So I am under self-imposed exile this weekend - from the universe. It's been a harrowing week and I am also a bit social-life weary so made the conscious decision to just stay at home ALL weekend and not do anything. I have been excelling at this.

So it has been just me, my book, my laptop and my DVD player, the occasional muffin, a tempting Magnum ice cream bar in the freezer, and my pillow,  and it's been awesome.

And I have been listening to some tunes, like this one.

Now, I love this song. These ladies are so talented and so gorgeous and I love when they collaborate. Monica is a star, believe it. Love her voice, her sass.

However, the song has me a bit perplexed. lol.

In the first place, the song is in a nutshell asking the guy - the now ex - to leave all the stuff bought for him during the relationship. The car, the bling, the macbook. I mean...why buy him this in the first place? And there is no mention of what he has bought for the chick. None. Zero. Nil. Not even a pair of underwear!

Which brings me to my next point -

All you do is talk
Never knew you to do nothing else
You ain't good for nothing baby

So WHY are you with this no-profit, no-contribution (emotional, financial or otherwise) man? And on top of that, you STILL buying him the car and the Macbook!! You an ass!

Am I losing it here? Is it just me or is this woman a damn idiot too? I mean, if I were the man I would say, "Baby, I worked for this Macbook. I chain up your head so bad that you still loved me and bought me stuff even though I was a good for nothing!"

Ladies, ladies - don't do this! Just don't do it. This is why being single can sometimes be edifying and liberating and just plain better! lol.

No sympathy from me, ladies. But the song is still beautifully done.

Naughty, Naughty Friday night

Wine and cheese at The Naughty List
Photo credit: Lime.tt
We headed to The Naughty List last Friday – a wine and cheese after-work event. This was to precede our attendance at the Friday night premiere of the locally produced version of “Les Miserables”. Bad idea.

Well, bad in the sense that both the wine event and the musical were excellent individually. But put together, not the best outcome. Lol.

Besides the excellent girlfriend vibe and company, the selection of wines at The Naughty List was exceptional. One had a choice of one of three wines in the reds, whites and blush wines, so you would have had three glasses of wine, or more if a friend did not want to use all their wine chits.

I confess that wine is my Kryptonite. While not an alcoholic – my consumption of alcohol is limited to the occasional happy hour, or wine with dinner – I do have a high enough tolerance for spirits. I can have quite a few cocktails and be completely a-okay. Wine however, while not debilitating, makes me rather sleepy, particularly red wine. I don’t have to tell you what went on when we got to the theatre. Lol.

What I will say is that in-between winks, the talent of the students starring in this musical was exceptional. I was particularly impressed with the young man cast as Javert, and the young lady cast as Fantine. Unfortunately, the combination of the wine and a long work week got the better of us and we did not stay til the end, but a job well done to the producers and young actors. I am again impressed with the quality of our musical productions in this country. Great talent abounds.

I would also like to say I wish there were more of the recommended cheeses for a more exciting wine and cheese pairing exercise. Not sure if people ran off with trays of the camembert for example, but I would have liked to have had more than 1-2 cheeses for my wine. Maybe that would have helped. Lol. Maybe I am just greedy like that.

We however did end up in Haagen Dazs, in search of more caffeinated beverages, where coffee was ordered, a pick me up having becoming necessary.

Still did not stop us from enjoying champagne the following evening. The grape is a brilliant fruit and should be enjoyed with friends.

To all the Fat Haters...

Elle Rondes, owning her body and
not giving a sh.... Brilliant!
So, I have never hidden the fact that I am not a pencil in terms of body shape and size. I am more like a cute hourglass, with some extra padding. Needless to say, the hourglass has expanded in recent months, but I am not crying over it. Some may say, fat. I say “awesomely padded”. Lol.

Of course, I am not being indifferent either. I have cut way back on the snacks to start. Gone are the daily Magnum bars in primetime. Lol. (Magnum ice cream bars are awesome, aren’t they?) And I eat more vegetables now, though eating more fruit is still an issue, if you refuse to consider wine and strawberry daiquiris as part of the fruit family. And, therein lies my major weakness – happy hour weight gain. I can eat salad all week long. It just takes ONE happy hour outing to derail all my best efforts.

Of course I am also in the gym and while not a lover of working out (understatement of the millennium), I do it because the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. I have more energy during the day, I burn off some of those fruity stepchildren from the weekend, and my pants don’t need loosening.

This is where I would like to expand on a previously highlighted point, in a previous entry. Getting comments from anyone about my weight is annoying, but getting comments from FAT people about my weight is just infuriating – especially fat people who do not know what a salad looks like, or whose idea of working out is walking to the fridge. I make no apologies for this cause I am tired of fat, lazy people having an opinion. When you get yourself together, then talk to me. When you can rock a salad over a Big Mac, then you may comment on my slice of cake on a Saturday night. When you can run a lap around the Queen’s Park Savannah at 4 in the morning with me, then you can look at my waistline. And when your comments are uplifting and CONSTRUCTIVE, then we can talk about my fat ass all day. But until then, keep your comments to yourself.

I am happy, my people are happy, so why are you making my dress size your problem? Don’t you have enough problems in your own life? If you translate being awesome as having nothing positive to say about others, no matter what their size, colour or pay cheque, then you need more than cake to medicate yourself. The time taken to look at others could be better invested in being the best you can be – whether you are 300lbs or 100.

Don’t worry about me though, cause I am already there. Fat or not, I am truly super, baby! Believe it!

My weekend was awesome by the way and included a good dose of wine, champagne, white chocolate bread pudding (can we say, SINFUL??), great, great friends, lots of laughter and fun and good memories to last me the week. Oh…you said something? I did not think so.

Happy Monday!!!

Cosmopolitan Love...or Single Gal Stalking

Cosmopolitan love....the nice kind

So of course, no weekend away for the single gal would be complete without some single gal adventures.

First of all, I must admit that the quality of the man candy in Miami was really sub-par. I was really not impressed. I mean, sure it had been a while since my last visit, but where did all the semi-cute guys go? What I did see bordered on “America’s Most Wanted” and “Redneck Rehab” (thanks to my girlfriend, for exposing me to such amazing American pop culture as Redneck Rehab). I mean…wow. It was bad.

What I can easily say now with much confidence is that my stalkers are international. I mean, yes…I am a cosmopolitan stalker magnet. On this trip, I had my first Guyanese stalker (he had to have been Guyanese!!) and my very first Israeli stalker. The Israeli stalker was special. Not only was he mesmerized by the Trini hotness, but he was so gobsmacked that he scribbled his number on a piece of paper and urged me to call him. I have the number in the back pocket of my jeans – a souvenir of my international prowess – but no call was ever made. Not sure where ashy ankle, old guy stalker was from, but he kept staring at me in the store with this hungry, rabid look that made me feel like I was covered in honey barbecue sauce. Oh and let's not forget the Hispanic-American TSA dude who felt it would be remiss of him to not subtly or not so subtly "invite" himself to my hotel while he checked my landing card.

There were also some very strange social rituals brought on either by alcoholic overindulgence (God, I hope so) or just by simple insanity/lasciviousness. We went to the Clevelander at Marlins Park on Saturday night and wow, these girls were really high on life (insert sarcasm here). One girl was the obvious “star” with her antics which included dancing in-between the legs of the moko jumbie, then falling to the floor and thrusting her pelvis upwards in what is a dance only she knows. She also coupled this with some girl-on-girl action with another scantily clad psycho, who proceeded to grab pelvic girl’s rump, gyrate on it, and then when pelvic girl was on the floor doing the pelvic thrust dance, this one raised the already short skirt to gyrate over her. God only knows what this was about, but it was disturbing and only slightly entertaining. There was a bit too much of a Sodom and Gomorrah vibe going on here. Lol. Needless to say, in as much as the deejaying was a mess, this sideshow was the best entertainment for the evening.

Rest assured though, I was a mere bystander and spectator and your girl was nowhere in the fracas. Not sure where my passport will take me next but God, let’s hope the single gal adventures are more smurfy, and less Gargamel.

Steam Room Magic

My own personal steam room - every day steam therapy!
Just got back from a weekend getaway in Miami. Well, besides the out-of-this world thunderstorms, the trip was lovely. I slept on the flight to Miami, and the flight from Miami and everywhere in between. So tired was I - this corporate life!!!

The best part of the trip besides spending time with friends?

Steam room magic!!!

I had booked my hotel around the same time I booked my flight about a month or so ago, and let me tell you, I made this hotel decision not on location, or cute pics but on the shower. The room came with a wonderful sauna type experience which every overworked corporate diva needs when on a much needed weekend away from stress and frustration. I swear, the relaxation that came after each steam bath was beyond description and priceless. I feel like a new woman.

Well until tomorrow.

Thank you to the wonderful staff at Hotel St Augustine, in Miami, not just for the exemplary customer service but also for the foresight in ensuring guests could have such luxuries (necessities??) mere steps away from their beds. Awesome!

A Tale of Two Breasts - Kate's Breasts

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge aka Kate Middleton
The interwebs have been buzzing with the talk and the actual photos of Kate Middleton's ta-tas. So she went on holiday, took off her top and let her husband rub sun tan lotion all over her.


What is our fascination with nakedness, or more specifically, celebrity nakedness?

Are we still so daft that somehow we think that celebrity body parts perhaps look different or are superior? Have we never ever in our lives seen a pair of female breasts? Did we think maybe her breasts were made of gold or diamond encrusted? Are we so hard up that our only avenue for ogling body parts is by checking out paparazzi photos in a magazine or online? How do Kate Middleton's breasts become such a hot ticket?

I mean, people have sent me the photos (why do people do this?) of Kate's toplessness and I must say, while not advocating the stalking of women to snap shots of their breasts, the secondary issue is that the breasts aren't awesome by boob standards. In much the same way, I did not get the buzz around her sister Pippa's bum, I don't understand this weird fascination with Kate's breasts. Yet all this hoopla - just because they are royal ta-tas? She was not royal a year ago and I am betting she has had them for a while.

But...I want to say that while some may argue that she should appreciate her celebrity status and thus be more careful of where she takes her top off, it speaks again to the baseness of society, where the female body has become a treasure chest (pardon the pun) for third parties, and where a woman's choice to do as she likes in private is questioned and attacked. A woman, princess or not, if she feels liberated in the privacy of her villa, to want to take her top off to get a tan, should be able to do so without feeling like she will be violated and exploited for profit by others, or chastised. How can anyone fault a still new bride enjoying an intimate moment with her husband - prince or not - in the privacy of their vacation home?

I think the entire thing is annoying and played out. I wish the media would find real news to report on.

Packing: Every Woman's Nightmare

I hate packing.

Even though it may be a short trip, I still hate it. It can be so tedious, especially as a woman, cause we all know, we gals are planners and we can then become indecisive. We think ahead and over think. And we have different needs to men. They can wear just about anything and look any old way. We just can't!

But I am getting better and with all the airline restrictions now, it has become mandatory to just leave some things behind. Gone are the days I would have an entire mini carry-on just for my toiletries. But some good tips I have tried to stick to in recent years.

Choose a foundation colour - Especially if like me, you're an accessoriser and your blouse has to match your shoes and handbag etc. Stick to a colour family and take just the accessories you need for that colour family. Or...

Play it safe with the accessories -  You cannot go wrong with black or brown sandals/heels, and a simple necklace and some diamond/gold/silver earrings. Don't overly stress yourself out with the accessorising. Have you seen other tourists lately, waist pouch and all? Once you don't look like them, you have won half the battle already!

Bronze palette - always a winner!
The Toiletries!!! - Here is my challenge. My dressing table is like a shop. Anything you can think of is on there. You need lotions and smelly stuff and hair stuff and night time stuff and mouth stuff. lol. How do you decide what stays and what goes? Well, you can't. But hey, day cream can work as a night cream. So what if you smell like vanilla for the entire vacation? Do you really need to smell musky or floral too? Make vanilla your signature smell for the trip. You also cannot go wrong with a bronze eye palette. It goes with almost everything, so you don't need to take the entire makeup bag! MAC will not burn to the ground because you left all your minis at home. Do you NEED to exfoliate or do a glycolic peel? Do you?

Don't overdo it with the "just in case" items - This is the REAL problem. The "Oh let me take this blouse just in case we go to a club, and this one just in case it is cold that night". Then there are 15 extra tops in the suitcase that you NEVER wear. I am not challenging the "just in case" items but keep it rational!!!

Plan (sensibly and without neurosis) - You can either write it down or lay the clothes out - but plan the outfits strategically, so you know what you are going to wear when. And stick to it. This way you pack just what you need and don't over-pack. You need space for souvenirs and other things when you're coming back home!!

Let's see how I do with this. I can give it, but can I follow it???

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum!!! Lots of Rum!

My favourite rum - Angostura 1919
Photo credit: Lime.tt
Yesterday we went to the Day 2 of the three-day Angostura Rum Festival. Anyone who knows me knows I love festivals, and when I was in London, if I could make it, I would be at some festival, including their Rum Festival, which featured rums from all over the world. So when I saw this, I was already there. Hell...I mean, the word "rum" does it for me, so I was there.

The festival was aimed at showcasing our local rums and the amazing things one can do with them, as well as allow true rum lovers to understand the history of our rum and how rums are made, and our world-famous Angostura bitters. In case you did not know, Angostura bitters are as awesomely Trini as I am. Write it down. There were tours of the distillery, rum lectures, demonstrations with rum in both cooking and bartending, rum samples and Master Challenges for chefs and mixologists.

The heat drove me from the outside to the cooler activities on the inside, like the rum lecture, which surprisingly was not as boring as I thought it would be...ALTHOUGH...I did close my eyes for a couple minutes. That I blame on the free cocktails, the heat and a very taxing and tiring 5-day work week. But the presenter was engaging and very knowledgeable about his rum.

Photo credit: Lime.tt
The festival was okay. It was not quite what I expected after all the amazing reviews, but it was a good day out anyway and for just TT$50. There are very few things you can do for $50 so kudos!

It was extremely hot though and I wilted immediately until we got indoors, into areas like the rum shoppe and the cooking demonstrations, which I did not know you needed to buy chits for, but anyway...

Note to organisers: The entertainment was awful awful awful. Wow. We were not the only ones who thought so either, but then they were brought on so late that perhaps it was anticipated that people would be too drunk to notice and too spirit-happy to really care.

Foodie Love - Pesto! Pesto!

Del Mano Shadon Beni Pesto
Photo credit: Del Mano
I just wanted to share my latest find.

This past weekend, we went to Upmarket, which is a very cool roving gourmet market. Needless to say, you are going to do things at such a thing

- Part with a lot of money
- Gain some poundage

I did both. I loved the variety of stuff, and it was pretty good stuff, including the awesome assorted gourmet cupcakes (I bought a six-cupcake box).

But I really loved the pesto guys from Del Mano! I loooooove pesto and so of course, I bought pesto. What I liked was their variety of pesto, which included roasted sweet pepper, watercress, shadon beni (similar to cilantro), roasted melongene (eggplant), traditional basil and I forget the other one. lol. We got the pepper and shadon beni versions.

I got home tonight, starving and tired and whipped up some pasta and roasted sweet pepper pesto. Nothing better, lemme tell you. It's also for lunch tomorrow, which means gym is mandatory in the morning. This weekend I will find other things to do with this awesomely delicious find, possibly paired with something from a grape. Vegetables and fruit servings - easy!!

Sweat is the new Zoloft

It's almost like a blogging renaissance up in here. Trying to dig myself out of a funk and exploring all avenues, including writing and gymming it.

Now while I have no desire for this to become a fitness blog, I do (try to) go to the gym at least 4 times a week, so you're bound to get a blog about the gym, diet or fat people adventures every now and then.

I have found the gym to not only be great for the waistline but also for my mental health. Looking back, every time there was a crisis in my life (and by crisis, I mean tabanca or some kinda love stress), I would first probably have a cupcake or 20, and then find myself in the gym to sweat away the bad mojo (and the 20 cupcakes). I found that over the last 2 weeks when I did not go to the gym or worked out in any way, shape or form, I was depressed and sour - allowing the things we push aside and try to cover up with affirmations to wash over me.

Now that I am back on track, I am aiming to be "that" girl again - the girl who smiles a lot and goes out and lights up people's lives! Sweat is the new Zoloft, people!

I am also the sarcastic, blunt girl and I have a message for all the fat people in the world. If you are not freakin' Beyonce or Halle Berry, or you are over 250lbs, you're not in any type of programme to look like Beyonce, and KFC is gourmet cuisine for you, then don't have anything to say about MY weight gain! Okay? I will tell you as it freakin' is!!!

(Un)Wired for War!!

My Sony Walkman
The war against weight gain is hard. Working out is hard. Working out is tedious. What can be worse than working out - besides not being able to enjoy a 6-pack of gourmet cupcakes without guilt?

Working out without music.

I had gone through quite a few MP3 players, via sweaty workouts, rainy workouts and MP3 player drops and spills. So when I was looking for a new one, I passed over the Apple group and looked for something cheap, practical and convenient.

I bought two players. The first was the Sansa Disk Clip+, which cost less than $US30 and is pretty sturdy. But the one I was really looking forward to getting was the Sony Walkman, which is a wireless, hardy, waterproof MP3 player. I love it so far. No more worrying about sweat totally screwing up my player, or rain destroying my investment. I also hate running with the headphone cords flying about, so this is perfect. I gave these headphones a test run this morning and I think the earbuds were too large as they kept slipping out of my ear. But have no fear - the player comes with Medium earbuds already "installed", but with Small and Large back up buds in the box, so I have changed the buds and will hopefully have a better experience with them tomorrow as I plan to burn off this Twix mini bar.

Trying to treat my Blogaphobia

I come here ever so often and look at the page and think, what on earth am I supposed to write here? I have never been this  blocked, but I know it is as a result of a few things.

- I am just busy and inevitably tired. I have crazy days - full days - and by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is blog or, sad to say, read your blogs. I do try and I do read a blog or two now and then but it is not easy. I know I spoke at length about my daily existence here.

- As a result of being busy, there is nothing really exciting to talk about. lol. I doubt you want to hear about my meetings, days spent slaving over a hot laptop, treating with interns, oddball callers, vendors and colleagues. Do you?

- When I do the "exciting" stuff, I don't feel like blogging about it either.

- And more importantly, being back in the smaller pool that is Trinidad, as opposed to the wide gulf that was London, I feel more exposed and less inclined to say what's on my mind. When I had an anonymous blog, this was not a problem, but now the things I could talk about and want to talk about, I don't feel like this is the place in which to talk about them.

I could maybe just cross over to the dark side and become a giveaway blog (the horror!). But no...something will work out soon. It's not just here either. I don't tweet, I don't pin. I do Facebook, so there is still life in this social media machine! But feel free to leave your suggestions as to how I can resuscitate it all.

Despite success, anyone can be overwhelmed

In reading some of the tweets on the passing of director Tony Scott, brother of director Ridley Scott, I ran across the words that make up this blog post's title.

Despite success, anyone can be overwhelmed.

We often take for granted the fact that people hurt, regardless of their status, age, or what their life looks like from the outside. From the outside, people may seem happy and well, as though they have their shit together. From the inside, it can often be a completely different story. I don't think there is anyone I know who has not had a dark moment or several moments of confusion, doubt and deep, overwhelming sadness or depression. I know I certainly have. And then there are those who for most of their lives, have had to battle depression, day in, day out.

In a world that sometimes seems to be growing more and more selfish, we sometimes are indifferent to the sadness in a person's eyes or in their words. We miss the hints they leave behind in tweets or status updates, in blogs, in texts, or in the regular excuses for not meeting up to catch up. Sometimes, one just needs to be in tune and "listen". And if you're not sure, simply check in with an email, or a message - just to let those around you know that they are not alone and that someone out there still cares.

With all the things in a person's life - all the trappings of success - life can still be very much an obstacle course. Noone is immune, so one should not take loved ones and friends for granted.

I am still alive, rest assured

I know I need to write.

I know I need to post.

I know I need to tweet...at least.

I promise I will.

What do you want to know?

Hope everyone is well.

I am.

Desperately Coping with Loneliness

I saw a video about this guy, Jeff Ragsdale, who in the height of the breakup-related depression, just posted flyers around Manhattan asking people to call him. He was so lonely and on the brink that he just printed a bunch of posters with his phone number and put them up across the city, hoping someone would reach out to him. Well, someone did not reach out to him - MANY people reached out to him and soon his desperate plea for companionship went viral and became a global show of solidarity. As he says in the video, a city like New York, even with all the hustle and bustle, can be a lonely place and having lived across the pond myself, I know big cities, even with all the stuff going on around you, can really feel like a lonely and empty place. I think many people managed to relate to his poster.

Now while I am not sure whether I would post a flyer around the place inviting the unwashed masses to call me, you can certainly understand the need for an ear, a comforting word, when one feels like the last and only person in the middle of a busy metropolis. And it speaks to the basic human need for companionship and solidarity.

In this case, this guy, who apparently has suffered with depression and other related issues all his life, found a lot of comfort in the voices of strangers, many of whom called from outside the United States. I am sure he is not sad and depressed today, as he has just launched a book based on these calls and the various experiences people shared with him - some consoling him, others looking to be consoled.

This entire story just highlights a couple things - people are still amazing, even as the world news, on a daily, even hourly basis, paints humanity as money-grubbing, selfish cretins; and secondly, you can make money from just about anything in the US of A. Even from a book about phone calls.

Katie Holmes: 2012's Tina Turner

Katie Holmes - free and single in NY
The hoopla around TomKat - the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce will resonate for years with people offering their own theories about the marriage and the faith that seemingly caused its birth and destruction. At the end of it all, there was a sigh of relief when 33 year old Katie Holmes, after 5 years of being married to one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, walked out of her marriage. What struck me is that she did  so, by media accounts, with a lot of guts and a very shrewd mind - using a disposable cell phone to make plans, out of the reach of his Scientology handlers, getting three law firms involved, putting them on standby, contacting Nicole Kidman for advice and going to her dad, a divorce lawyer to ensure she would get out of this thing "alive".

Not only did she get out of it "alive" but she also showed the world that she was not just a trophy wife and after years of being little more than an appendage, she rose to being her own person once more.

While there is certainly no evidence of physical abuse, it is clear that she was under the hold of her husband and his church, a kind of mental and emotional abuse that made her seem older than her years and less exuberant than the Joey Potter-esque Katie the world had known prior to the union. In the middle of all the hoopla, much is being theorised about Scientology and I have no comment on that. Instead I want to say that  Katie came out of this gracefully, with little more than a 2-week period of negotiation to settle the divorce, and not a years-long battle in courts with Tom Cruise brandishing his Hollywood and Scientology power over the little woman. Katie is the winner here and though she did not run out of a hotel room screaming like Tina did, she is a survivor. Props to her.

Italy meets Trininista: A night at Buzo Osteria Italiana

Buzo Osteria Italiana, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Since I have been back home, I have been trying to check out some of the places that had opened while I was away, or just places I had not had chance to patronise yet.

Last night, the girls and I went to Buzo Osteria Italiana, located on Warner Street in Port of Spain. Everyone else had already been but I was going to pop my Buzo cherry. I had heard many good things and believe me, I love Italian food, so I was very excited (and how awesome that Italy is on today in Euro 2012!! woot woot!)

And I was not disappointed. The restaurant's ambience is amazing. Very modern, very chic but not pretentious. My type of place and for a moment, I forgot I was in Trinidad. There is also a great outdoor area where most of the smokers had settled for the evening but even with the disgusting cigarette smoke, it was really cosy and fresh in look and feel. The out of Trinidad feeling was compounded by the stellar service from the wait staff. So used to horrendous and just plain BAD service from local establishments, I was really pleased to not have to sharpen my tongue to answer back anyone last night. I loved that our waiter, Shannon, had an honest opinion of what he would recommend. I hate going to places where the wait staff are just like lumps who tell you "everything is good". Excellent service.

And the food? Oh the food, my lovelies. Let's just say it was as good as it looked. Five stars!

Torcelli with Italian sausages, porcini mushrooms in a light cream and tomato sauce

The lamb...in a mint sauce

The sexy looking salmon

Panacotta and the most decadent chocolate souffle

Call Me...Maybe: Dating has gone Beserk

Forza Italia! Forza Azzurri!
Of course it is football time in Trininista land (where we do NOT say "soccer") with the European Cup, or Euro 2012, on.

These are the times a girl - well, this girl - looks forward to in life. Being a long time fan of the Azzurri, and for the non-footballing heathens, that's the Italy national squad, I will be plotting some sort of plan to be able to see that do-or-die game tomorrow, as I sit in a meeting for 3 hours!!!

But in other more disturbing news, and I felt I needed to bring this to the fore...the Call Me Maybe card.

The Call Me Maybe Card - sad

Isn't this a tad bit desperate? On the flip side, one may say this is ingenious and proactive. But I am not sure how I would react if some guy came up to me in a bar and gave me one of these. It is too obvious and too orchestrated. This guy is walking around my bar, with a card holder full of these things. Is he just passing them out like candy to anything female that moves? Am I supposed to feel special after receiving one of these ? Then he has his Facebook page listed - maybe with all his glamour shots, and what else? Testimonials? What's wrong with saying hello? Okay, maybe the girl will roll her eyes and walk away. Maybe she will laugh at you with her friends. But isn't that part of the game? lol. This just took the game from sport to creepy activity. Sorry. I mean it's bad enough that when you meet a guy these days, he does not even call. He wants to BBM you or IM you - total lack of proper communication skills. Now we have to put up with dating call cards? Really?

p.s. I don't roll my eyes unless you have gold teeth, cannot construct a sentence or you refer to me by some body part, or by my complexion. Take that as a hint as to what NOT to do.

Game of Thrones Season Finale: Valar Morghulis

Robb Stark...oh dear boy.
Photo credit: HBO
The season finale of Game of Thrones lived up to the hype. It was going to be hard to top 1. the season one finale and 2. last week's Blackwater episode which was amaaaaaaaaaaazing.

There was deception as Tyrion learnt his own sister was the one who ordered him be killed, Theon being blindsided by his men, and also some idiotic betrayal from Robb Stark who is clearly using one head more than the other. While the season finale did not expound on this point, Robb's misguided and idealist notions of love marked the beginning of the end for him. So sad, cause he is just so incredibly hot. Robb, like Ned before him, is an idealist and in this game, doing the right thing or following your heart is not going to cut it. Even Arya - going to find her family instead of taking J-Haqen up on his offer to learn all his shape shifting, magical tricks. Really? You love them because they represent the best of men, but they also can be pretty daft. Not sure what the lesson is there...lol.

There were dragons - and while I am not always a great fan of Daenerys Stormborn, she finally came into her own. Between her dragons lighting that creepy looking man up, and her kicking the fat Xaro and her former handmaiden out of bed and into an empty vault, she showed some real balls in the finale and proved herself worthy of being in the battle for the Iron Throne.

Maester Luwin says goodbye to Bran and Rickon Stark
Photo Credit: HBO
There was death with Maester Luwin bidding farewell to Bran and Rickon after being speared by Theon's men. These little boys have seen it all now. Well, maybe not yet...

There was a douche in the form of Joffrey, whose childish arrogance and stupidity are mind-numbing. Maergery Tyrell clearly has a thirst for power that can tolerate being married to such a tyrant.

Sansa - still trying to figure out this girl and whether she is mildly cunning or just plain stupid. She has her redeeming moments but last night, there were none of those.
Bad ass White Walker from the Game of Thrones
season finale
But while the scene lasted less than 2 minutes, the arrival of the White Walkers sealed the deal for me and as the main reason this episode was a winner. What an awesome closing scene. That white rider - the visual - fantastic. I almost peed my pants for poor fat Sam. Stunning end to a stunning season of an amazing show.

Now the worst part - the more than 10 month wait for the season 3 premiere.

What is a girl to do now?

Trininista - Day in the Life

Who wakes up at 3am? I do.
Life happens. Most days I am too tired or indifferent to blog. It's also been pretty routine lately. So routine that I can share a "Day in the Life" type post with you.

So every morning, whether I am going to workout or not, my alarm clock goes off at some variation of 3.00am. On non-workout days it is 3.45am and sometimes as late as 4.00am. But generally, as I fight the bulge, the alarm goes off at 3.10am.

It is at this point, I drag myself off the bed and change into my workout wear, brush my teeth, make sure I have everything I need. This last bit is very important since I workout near and in the office and so change there as well. In the past, I have left critical things behind - jewellery, shoes, mascara and even pants. Yes, one night I had ironed the pants and hung them on a separate hanger as I was too tired and the next morning, I drove all the way to the office and realised I had no pants. The options were slim - work in sweaty gym pants, sit in just my knickers, go home for pants or just go home. Taking into consideration the traffic in Trinidad after a certain hour, I called my then boss and said I had an emergency and would be taking the day. lol. But I had a great workout.

Queen's Park Savannah in the day
Photo credit: TTCS/D. Teelucksingh
So once I have confirmed I have everything - gym bag with toiletries, shoes, makeup, accessories, my outfit for the day, laptop, lunch bag - I get on the highway and head to the office. Park, go walk/run around the Savannah, praying I survive. Between my general lack of fitness, my knee and the carbon monoxide even at 4.30am, I am always grateful that I finish in one piece. Some mornings I take the workout to the gym, which conveniently is literally behind the wall next to my desk - these are the mornings it is either raining or I am strength training.

Shower. Change. Head to desk. Have breakfast - hard boiled egg white on whole wheat; coffee; a glass of wheat grass drink (blech) and my vitamins. Then I start working. This is usually at 6.30am by now and can involve a range of things - speech writing, report writing, endless calls to our creatives at our agency, endless endless meetings, editing and uploading intranet stuff, editing website stuff and getting the provider to action ASAP, social media stuff, newsletter stuff, internal comms stuff, external comms stuff, proposals, budget monitoring, chasing down stuff, proofing stuff, editing stuff, photo selection, strategy planning and writing, lately a lot of event chairing, which also involves external engagement and hob nobbing (which impacts the fashion choices the night before), endless teleconferences with other critical teams, and all usually running past 4.30pm.

If I leave at 4.30 on the nose, I then sit in traffic for a lifetime, listening to my fave radio show and laughing my head off in my air conditioned car. If I leave at 6pm or beyond, it is then an easier albeit later commute, once it is not raining. 

Get home, scrape up dinner which can be as good as a hot meal or as bad as popcorn or cheese balls. Go through the maddening process of choosing an outfit for the next day and making sure everything is packed, including my pre-prepared lunch and breakfast (I do this on Sunday - make and package both meals and stuff them in the fridge). Pack gym bag, making sure I have the right shoes for the outfit of the day, right accessories. Watch a little tv, pass out usually during said tv show. Shower. Get to bed anywhere between 9.45pm - 11.45pm. This is the part my doctor lectured me about, in addition to being too fat and not getting enough exercise. But I am also not getting enough sleep which also impacts the other two so I have been really working on being in bed by 9.30pm.

This is a typical day. On Fridays, we have happy hour, which involves a cocktail or 5, or which can be a day off as I do get every other Friday off as well. I am now actively trying to use these off Fridays for things other than errands - make them ME days. And I am also looking to add a workout in the afternoon - adding to the chaos that is already my life. Can you believe it? lol. I may never blog again! lol.

Men - From One Awful Extreme to Another

Yesterday I saw the most ridiculous thing - a not-so-young creature,  in a shirt that was clearly picked out from the children's section, and it was so tight I wondered if the creature could breathe. Not to mention, the overly tight skinny pants which showed the "fullness" of the letter "I" shape.

The creature was a man.

Men's fashion has gone to the other end of the spectrum - from overly baggy, loose clothes - complete with pants falling off the waist - we have now evolved to men in slim to skinny fit clothes. And there is a difference - slim fit I can tolerate, cause it is not meant to be tight but instead is meant to accentuate the man's body.

Men's Slim Fit can be very sexy, if done correctly

Skinny fit in my opinion should be limited to teenagers, still finding themselves, and male models. The end.

Men's skinny fit is not it

This is not a sexy look. I don't think so anyway, so if it works for you and your man, great. The man yesterday was not a tween. This was a full grown homo sapien, with flecks of grey hair, so what were you doing, man?

Slim Fit shirt - very sexy
Like women, age appropriateness is key. The skinny fit look, while great for teenagers and angst-ridden 20-somethings, may not work if you're clockin' 50 - no matter how debonair and handsome you may be. Just don't do it.

Also, I would not wear an outfit that accentuated all the parts of my body I need to work on, so why on earth would a man, not in the best of shape, want to stuff his pudgy bits into a too-tight shirt?

Please, get some guidance on what works for you, size-wise, age-wise etc. Thank you.

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