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.

Post-Wine Sale Dinner at Shesha Cafe and Lounge

With everything that has gone on this past week, not to mention the South-bound traffic being worse than usual,  it was a perfect Friday evening for some dinner and girl time, and Shesha Cafe and Lounge was picked to be the place for all this bonding and eating. I am glad we decided in the end to move outside despite the hookah love on the terrace, since it was a nice evening and well, we were a noisy bunch. But what else is new?

While I had been there for lunch, with a fantastic hummus victory being achieved then, I had not patronised the cafe at dinner time.

I am always impressed by the high standard of the customer service here, and special thanks to Duncan and Crystal for being such gems and for being completely outstanding. Of course, we were also well fed. What I did not see on the menu first time around was the meats section, quite possibly cause I was not eating meat that week and simply did not see it (possible, but not likely), but of course when I saw the magic words "pork loin", well, you know what came next. Really nicely cooked in I think a red wine sauce, and topped with grilled pineapple.

I was so hungry and this Pork Loin at Shesha Cafe and Lounge did the job and then some

My friend had the rack of lamb, and together we shared a side of the patatas bravas, which were very more-ish. Too more-ish because we almost did order more.

My friend was really impressed with the Rack of Lamb at Shesha Cafe and Lounge

May I also make yet another plug for their cream of pumpkin soup which is just amazing and which I took to go for Saturday lunchie time. I can be convinced to do anything when really good pumpkin soup is on offer.

I looked at their cocktail list longingly, but in the end, I had a glass of non-alcoholic wine with my meal as I am still on medication. However, there was nothing that prevented me from buying real wine, which is what I did pre-Shesha. Oh lucky me that Vintage Imports is just across the road and that their awesome annual sale was on. I did not even realise that their South branch had closed until I saw the sale ad and saw there was no South branch. Oh, my South people have let me down yet again. Anyway, it was a good afternoon for wine shopping and I got the last bottle of my favourite poison on the shelf at the time. Small yaay. And again, perfect perfect customer service and drinkie vibes. I am a happier woman this morning.

Note to self: park car on wine store's premises instead of across the street so you can buy more wine without worrying about the weight of wine purchases and breaking your precious cargo en route through the rain.

Love all the pretty colours. Thank you Vintage Imports for being awesome!

This is just one of my faves. Not sharing this!

Morning Wake Up Call aka "No Coffee" Smoothie

Nu Wave Party Mixer
I had a wannabe Magic Bullet that I used to make my smoothies but it just never did the job, leaving my blueberries and other fruit chunky and thus, often making my smoothies a dismal failure. Now with my Nu-Wave Party Mixer, which I got on sale, and which is way cheaper than the Nutribullet I really wanted, on top of being the daiquiri champion, I now can make wonderful fresh fruit slushies for my nephew and yummy fruit and green smoothies for myself.

My favourite smoothie to date is my Morning Wake Up Call green smoothie. Yes, I have lately been having this in lieu of coffee, while in recovery mode. I am making a concerted effort to not try to cover exhaustion with caffeine, while adding much needed nutrients at the top of my day.

For my morning smoothie, I use

  • a huge handful of baby spinach leaves (Trinis, do NOT attempt this with bhagi. You will regret it! lol)
  • one ripe peach (you can also use a banana, but I hate bananas)
  • 6-7 seedless prunes
  • a tbsp peanut butter - organic if you can
  • almond milk 
  • whey protein powder
  • If you have kale, throw that in too

You put it all in the mixer and pulverise it. For post-workout, I sometimes use half milk, half coconut water, for those much needed electrolytes. Once your fruit is sweet, you really have no need for sugar. I tend to never put sugar in my smoothies anyway, and if you are going to use yogurt to give your smoothie some body, use plain yogurt as opposed to the sugary stuff.

I have also made smoothie bags for convenience and to keep my ingredients from going bad in the fridge. Spinach for one is notorious for spoiling very quickly, so I have taken to bagging it out in individual smoothie servings and freezing it. And when it's time for smoothie, I simply grab a bag, pop it in the mixer with some milk/coconut water and voila.

That's my idle "sick in bed" post for today.

Reminders and Lessons from this week

I was reminded that coffee is a mask used to cover deeper problems and all coffee addiction jokes aside, I need to start listening to my body when it screams "I am tired".

After having weirdo things happen to my body, and banning coffee from my morning breakfasts for a few days, I was reminded that I could not deny that my fatigue was not normal.

I  was not reminded, but learnt that IV fluid bags take a long, long time to empty into one's body. This is especially not good when one is hungry and there is nothing at all to eat. I learnt this from having said bag attached to my arm - not a fun lesson.

I was reminded that sick days were invented for a reason. I must exercise this franchise more often when it is necessary.

I was reminded that I am not close to being invincible. I have fears like anyone else.

I was reminded that the internet is not always your friend when you start playing doctor and trying to diagnose yourself.

I was reminded that a second opinion really contributes to peace of mind.

I learnt that I have in fact lost 13 pounds. This was a great lesson cause I had banned myself from getting on the scale again until I felt for sure that weight loss was happening. I did not think anything was happening and when the doctor forced me to get on that evil device this morning, I cringed before I looked down. But small yaaay....13 gone, 500 to go!!

I was reminded that small victories often justify small treats. Very small. Don't judge me. I had a tough week!

Hazelnut Mocha cupcake. So cute. So yummy.

I was reminded that life is more than the day-to-day routine and hustle. It is soooo fragile and so much more than we make it each day. I was reminded that I have to take better care of myself and to embrace life more than I do. I need reminding of this often.

I was reminded that I am loved and that I love in return. Thanks for all the well wishes.

Ensure Vacation Fun with the Right Travel Buddy

As I try my best to think ahead to this vacation of nothing I would like to have before December 31, a friend and I were yesterday talking about travel buddies and how they can make or break your vacation enjoyment.

Most people know that I am Lone Wolf when it comes to travelling. Once I have my passport and when necessary, a valid visa, I wait for no man or woman. I like the spontaneity of being able to select a destination and work towards getting there.

I have not had good experiences planning trips with friends – none of these trips ever happened. The single, childless travel fiend is always a bit more flexible than the mothers and wives. Travel tastes also vary. According to some, I am a bit bourgie, and that’s fine. If being bourgie means I am not a fan of backpacking and sleeping in some hostel where the sheets may or may not have been washed, and where I have to share a shower with 20 other people – 20 strangers I must add, then yes, I am hella bourgie. I get up too early in the morning, work too many damn long hours and I am always too tired to spend my vacation in some hostel! So therein is another reason I am the Lone Wolf.

But I was not always like this. Oh no. On my very first real vacation as a working adult, I planned a tropical girls’ trip with a friend. It had all the ingredients to be a fun time – a great destination, with great activities, great restaurants, a great friend. We got there, and from the moment we got off the plane, it was whine o’clock. The sun was too hot, the taxi was too cramped, the streets were too narrow, the room was too cold. Jee-bus!

Then we got to the shopping area, and while the shopping was excellent, who spends all their money on stuff on the FIRST day of a FIVE day trip? And no credit card in sight. Having not budgeted to pay for two, I could not chip in for five days. This now meant all the activities we had planned on doing were now going to be solo or no-go. *insert salty face here*

Then there was the issue of my Energiser bunny-ness versus dead bunny. I am one who wants to do and see everything, and while I can temper this to meet my travel buddy half way, waking up at 11am was not cute. Not just waking up at 11am, but waking up at 11am and then wanting to laze in bed, watching reruns on cable for another hour before getting into the shower, while I sit there, hungry, and while the beautiful day outside was being wasted. I had many a lonely breakfast during this trip.

When we finally emerged from the hotel, the whining resumed. It was just crazy. I called my mother one morning – exasperated – and then that same morning, decided I could enjoy this vacation by myself while Sleeping Beauty caught up on her beauty sleep until 2pm. On another trip, I had a daily 60 minute wait for one friend who insisted that she had to style her hair with the curling iron before heading to the beach. Really??? And so, the Lone Wolf was born.

However, I have since gone on staycations/vacations with others, and have had much much better experiences, but the travel buddy needs to be screened and selected carefully to ensure you get full value from your vacation investment.

Some helpful tips:

Two peas in a pod - At the very least, have common interests and values when it comes to your vacation. You may not always want to do all the same things, but some similarities go a long way. 

Discuss plans for the trip – It’s good to discuss beforehand what you both expect from the trip so that no one gets sour during the trip. Your travel buddy may not want to do everything you want to do and this may mean you cannot do everything you want to do. However, if you REALLY want to visit the Louvre and he/she really wants to go on a wine-tasting tour, then plan accordingly with compromise in mind to ensure each person gets value from the trip.

Budget – Ensure your travel buddy has money, and has budgeted realistically for your destination. That trip of a lifetime can sour really quickly if your travel buddy is going to be rolling with a calculator, doing currency conversions before they buy even a bottle of water and complaining that in Trinidad or wherever, this would be x dollars and not so expensive. THIS is annoying to the extreme!

Destinations will not change people – If your travel buddy annoys you on a regular day, then don’t set yourself up for disaster. Being in close quarters for a period of time, day in, day out, with a person who annoys you in daily life is going to ensure your vacation is a disaster. Just don’t do it – travelling alone is a much better and more enjoyable option.

That being said, I am still planning this vacation of nothing as a solo superstar adventure, but I am open to suitable travel buddies.

We Don't Have Wi-Fi. Talk to each other!

A friend shared this photo today (on Facebook...the irony) and I went “LOVE!”

Now while I do love me some social networking – some Facebookin’, some tweetin’, some bloggin’ – I am still always a bit challenged when it comes to taking all that into the offline space. For example, I remember going to try a new restaurant, and pulling my phone out to capture the food the moment it was placed in front of me, and I remember being very aware that I probably looked pretty stupid, and looked like THAT girl taking photos of her food. In fact, I tried to take the photo on the down low, looking around to see if anyone was watching my smartphone antics, even taking the flash off to avoid being spotted. Lol.

I always feel a bit invasive if I pull out my phone in a restaurant or at an event. While I do indeed take the occasional photo for the blog, I still don’t capture a whole lot of stuff which I am sure would make my blog awesome. I love other blogs that have all those wonderful moments, and yes, we often do live vicariously through those recorded moments, but I am still grappling with the balance between recording the moments and living the moments.

I used to joke about life in London, when on the train, the hamsters would have their eyes dead set on the screens of their phones, oblivious to life around them. At a recent event here in Trinidad, I felt that sense of déjà vu where I sat in a room, at a great event, with great people, and there was a smartphone in every hand, and several pairs of eyes and minds were lost in cyberspace – Instagramming the food, tweeting about the drinks, checking in to the venue, but not really enjoying the food, enjoying the drinks, or enjoying the real people in the room at that moment.

We go out and we sit with the phones within our reach, stalking it for that beep, that shrill, that flashing light indicating a message, an email, a tweet, a comment, while there are a myriad of great things maybe happening at the table. It’s what I would describe as being socially anti-social – we are social in the 2013 sense of the word, but in truth, there is an element of distracted, insular, selfish behavior every time we bow our heads to “socialise” on our phones in the company of others.

I am not perfect. I very often fail at dinners or events when I check in or whatsapp a friend a photo, or what have you. But more and more, I am challenging myself to leave the phone in my bag and just enjoy the moment for what it is. I don’t always succeed, but hey…

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