“The Level Up” – Reflections of the Past, Embracing The Future!

Hey Everyone, thought I fell off the grid huh? Nope! Well, I kind of did for a month, but that’s what vacation does to you. You travel, spend time with your family, totally overdose on Starbucks and any other caffeine related beverage within 2 blocks of your US residence, run the streets with your sisters, and suddenly return to the 268 become inundated with work and life priorities, and suddenly realize “god damn” I haven’t blogged for over a month. But that’s life right? sometimes we become so engrossed we forget the little things that make us happy.

This post reflects 2018, not only for myself but I’m sure for many of you. This is the time where we all sit back and try to rehash the year from start to finish (with any luck if we still have our brain cells left), we try to remember all the good and the bad, where we “effed up” and where we were stellar in the upward movement in our lives. We remember what we lost and what we gained, and try to figure out how we can become better individuals and do well in our lives for 2019.

For me 2018 was a year of more growth and somewhat of a learning curve, one in the sense that allowed me to push myself beyond boundaries where I didn’t think I could handle at age 41. I went back to school, (Grad School) where I juggled both a hectic job and late night assignments and presentations for literally eight months. At one point I felt like WTF did I get myself into??? like seriously did I really think my brain still worked the way it did in my twenties at University?

I plowed through months of paperwork, inter-library book loans, asking my professors a million questions (thinking I must be a dweeb for not understanding things), late nights, coffee, and falling asleep with my computer on my lap (luckily escaping being Antigua’s next burn victim). I finally made it and received my Grad Certificate in Strategic Communications Management from Purdue University at the end of September 2018. I am proud of myself because this is something I have deliberated for years and never thought I’d have enough willpower to do, but sometimes you have to suck life up and act like NIKE; “Just Do It”.

To celebrate this achievement and one of my girl’s 40th Birthday we planned a girls trip to Las Vegas, I figured I worked like a Hebrew slave half the year the least I could do was finally get myself to Sin City and let my hair down. Our trip was awesome and I will definitely go back again.

During all of this time, sometimes your year doesn’t always have happy endings, for me I lost two very special people, One whom I loved very much and who always made me feel like her own (even though I am through blood), every time I visited the family Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving won’t be the same, but our family remains connected and I have my Aunt Thelma to thank for that.

The other, my closest girlfriend’s mother was literally like a mother to us all growing up, her untimely departure really took a toll on me for weeks, and it really made me realize how much we need to appreciate those in our lives, yet still encouraging us to live our lives the way we see fit, and to not allow those on the outside regardless of their beliefs or opinions to influence our personal journey in life.

For me I don’t learn any one lesson in just a particular year, I am a learner of things gradually through time, some of these learning experiences focus on people who walk in and out of your life, I have learned every year how to asses these individuals, the ones who are genuine, fake, pretentious, bi-polar, self absorbed, attention seekers, power hungry, humble, liars, etc.

The one great thing about evolving as an adult is that you learn how to classify these people, you learn that not every comment deserves a response; you learn to observe and say nothing and handle them on your own terms; you learn how to avoid gossip and allow them to ruin their own character; you learn how to not make people feel they are more important than you when they think they are, last but not least you learn to play the game of life. All these lessons I continuously learn and carry them over into a new year wiser.

So now I am 42!( I say with great enthusiasm) moving into 2019 there has been a lot of self reflection as I am sure the rest of you have done so. There were a lot of eye openers for me towards the end of 2018 and for that I am eternally grateful, it allowed me to think about what I want more for my future, spending time and seeing my siblings and other family members blissfully happy was one of these moments and I think to myself there are still good devoted people in this world, you have to open yourself up to new beginnings and change your present aura. You cannot be afraid of the future and expect to have it if you still hold on to the past.

Throughout 2018 I learned that it’s ok to put myself first and love me more, I learned that I have some of the most supportive friends and family in my life who are always there for me even when I crash burn, and for that I am eternally grateful. As I battled with a myriad of decisions, I decided that I would do things differently in 2019.

The thing about life is that nothing is ever promised to us, and so I have lived my life exactly how I think I should live it without caring about anyone’s expectations of me or judgement. With that being said, dance like no one is watching you, let go of the things that no longer serve or bring you happiness, embrace new beginnings, pursue more dreams and turn them into reality, never seek validation from anyone but yourself, work hard but play harder, 2019 just may be our year.

Let’s Get em in The 2019 Guys!!

Love E!

#YEAR42

FRO FEST Antigua 2018

Approximately eight years ago, I made a life changing decision, I said good-bye to “creamy crack” otherwise known as hair relaxer, and opt for my natural curls. Now I didn’t come up with this decision by just waking up and deciding to cut my hair off, this took months of research, soul-searching, Pinterest, earring and hair accessory hunting, and taking thousands of photos with my long hair in remembrance of what was, vs what would be.

So, imagine my excitement when I discovered that on October 27th there was going to be a Beauty Festival here in Antigua, called “Fro Fest”. But this wasn’t just going to be about what the name exclaimed, it was about everything that encompassed beauty on a whole which made me even more curious to attend this fabulous event. It also allowed me to wear my curls like a lunatic and no one would care. As usual, I dragged one of my “chargies” aka (one of my homegirls) with me to see what all this hype was about. (Fro Fest was already consuming my Instagram page).

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The event started promptly at 11a.m. and was scheduled to end at 7p.m. at the Environmental Division Headquarters on factory road. I figured I had more than enough time to get my natural ensemble together, and give my hair ample time to do what I tell it to do, way before we arrived. We got there early in the afternoon, in what I swear to god must have been a heat wave, because the sun was BRUTAL!

I have never felt heat like that other than being 50 shades drunk inside Myst Mas band on Sir Viv Richards Street. I thought to myself, well it’s hot as hell out here but Fro Fest got the perfect weather for such an event.

As we approached the gate I immediately felt like the event was going to be good, everyone was so Afro-centric. I guess I wasn’t the only one excited because from the number of cars parked; it seemed like we were not the only ones excited to be there. As we walked in, there was a photo backdrop with Fro Fest in flowers at the entrance, I absolutely loved the concept! But you wanna know how they got 10 points from me? Straight ahead of us was the Kennedy’s Club booth, serving a lovely selection of wines and “Prosecco”!

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We had a win-win situation right here, because I was about to have a heat stroke and reach to Mount Saint John’s before I saw the rest of the festival, so imagine my squeals of delight when I saw this blessed heaven before my eyes. My friend J and I quickly purchased and shared a bottle of Prosecco, (we are lushes don’t judge us). After the cool taste of heaven trickled down our throats, it was time to explore this party.

The layout was exactly how I thought it would be, there were beautifully decorated tents with vendors everywhere, displaying different ranges of beauty products, along with DJ Quest spinning familiar tunes in the background.

The first vendor who caught our eye was called “ Yonissence” established on October 17th 2017, what piqued my curiosity was that they offered vaginal steaming blends, (don’t look at this paragraph and wince ladies), we all want a healthy va-jay-jay! And, since their aim is to help women be more aware of vaginal health, and I am big on hygiene, (I mean real big) I sauntered over to hear about the pros of this interesting service being offered. After hearing about the wonderful benefits of the products and steaming the va-jay-jay, I most definitely will contact them in future.

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As I scanned the venue, I realized that there wasn’t a particular age range attending this event, it was a mixture of both young middle-aged and older women and men. I have to say the ladies were not playing with their attire; I saw motherland fabric roll out into some spectacular designs, girls who normally wore protective styles and weaves (like myself) had their hair out in fros, curls, funky do’s, everyone wanted to showcase their natural side and display their natural style which was refreshing compared to the normal heavy beauty production you see at regular events.

As we moved on throughout the afternoon, we visited various product vendors and retailers such as; Bique’s Designs, SHA’S Expressions, Glambox Antigua, Lucid Beauty products out of New York, Paige Purses Antigua owned by Ms. Petra Miller, who might I add displayed a range of lovely hand made purses and bags made from tribal, animal and African print fabric, left up to me I would have bought one of each they were so tempting to the eye.

Ms. Caren Tonge, owner of Aglaia Style was also on site showcasing her hand-made jewelry along with her much expected line of Independence madras accessories. If Independence was a whole week, I would have probably finished her stash so let’s thank god we only get one day. (Ladies please check her Independence scarves out next year)

There were a variety of food and sweet treat stations, along with well-known beverage stars such as ICED and Blendz Smoothie Bar on The Go. Fairly new on the scene was Kombucha Karibbean, now I recently started drinking Kombucha which is supposed to be fantastic for you, so I was pleasantly surprised to know we had a local distributor here in Antigua.

For those of you who don’t know, Kombucha is a fermented probiotic beverage which comprises of green or black tea, the result makes it taste almost like alcohol with a fizz but it’s really tea and there are loads of wonderful flavours offered by Kombucha Karibbean, it also promotes energy and a stronger immune system. So for the health junkies (kinda like myself) you must check it out.

After having a huge cup of Kombucha which was delicious, (here lies another excuse for me to drink). We listened to special appearances performed by local musicians and a panel comprising of familiar faces such as; The Honorable Michael S. Browne Minister of Education, Empress Kai Davis, IFBB Amateur Athlete Kimberley Ephraim, and others who graced the stage in a healthy discussion, informing Fro Fest patrons about their thoughts on beauty and what the perception of it means to them.

As the afternoon gradually winded down, with the panel discussion ending, and our bottle of Prosecco finally dead, DJ Quest stirred up the party, which I have to admit made me shake a tail feather since I missed playing Mas for carnival this year! Fro Fest had finally ended it was time for us to go.

So, 4 glasses of Prosecco and one huge cup of Kombucha later I could still soberly sum up this lovely afternoon I had just experienced. I honestly think Fro Fest was a well attended, well-organized event for its first appearance. However, what I would like to see more of next year is more familiar hair and beauty care products on display.

My expectations were to see a lot more hair products showcased, based on everything I know of on the market. I also think next year’s festival should encompass a hair station with a few natural hair stylists who will be on site to show different natural hairstyles, and educating us about natural hair care and hair care product lines for those of us who are transitioning, and who have already made the journey.

I anxiously await next year’s event which I think will have a lot more in store for us. One more thing, don’t loose the Prosecco!

 

Battle of the Cleanse! (my 7 day journey)

So here lies the truth about “green smoothies”; they can either be your best friend or your worst nightmare! After my vacation mid summer, as any foodie would understand, I returned home with possibly 7lbs of crab legs inside my body (don’t judge me). I was on vacation for crying out loud!

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One day, a colleague of mine sent me a flyer via WhatsApp for a 10-day cleanse she was about to partake in. At first, I thought it was a good idea (then I thought awwww hell naw….no food for 10 days? I can’t subscribe to this foolishness). Eventually, I made a visit to the smoothie shop in my neighbourhood to enquire about this cleanse, where I met the very knowledgeable and professional owner, Nadia of Blendz Smoothie Bar.

 After having a conversation with her I decided “Yes, I’m gonna do this”. Shortly after our conversation she launched the 7-day cleanse and I jumped on it. I was absolutely ready to wrangle with seven days of the smoothie beast (playin my damn self!).

I actually chose the smoothie and salad option, because “trust” if I only had smoothies, I would not be alive to tell this tale. So everyday, for the next seven days, I along with others in a chat group would be at the mercy of Nadia to nourish or starve our bodies! I excitedly went out shopping and purchased all my raw snacks. I quickly bolted with tunnel vision for the cashier in Epicurean, before hearing the cookies and currant roles voices over in the pastry section (I swear they do talk to me).

 Day 1 arrived and I was ready!!! Let’s do this. Our little bag consisted each day of a gallon bottle of green smoothie, a bag of pink Himalayan salt (for your salt water flush every morning), 1 green tea bag, a bottle of water and….(wait, you guys were waiting for something else?) Yeah so was I.

I drank my salt water flush with a dash of lemon juice to cut the taste ( let me get on record to say that this tastes absolutely horrible, but works like clockwork). Excitedly I grabbed my bag full of prepared snacks; a boiled egg, apple slices, almond butter and watermelon, anxious to achieve my new goal. To be honest, the day went great the smoothie was, well, green and snacking wasn’t too bad. I just didn’t have any real food to eat which really played on my emotions. However, I was determined, and I needed to loose this weight and feel better.

Day 2 remained pretty much the same as day 1, I wasn’t feeling as hungry as I thought I would, but the smoothie tasted worse. I really wanted to shove a banana with cinnamon in there and re-blend it but too late, no rectifying the situation. I pushed through day 2 with a pang of extreme hunger. In the evening, a boiled egg and can of tuna in water (raw) became my new BFF’s.

 

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Day 3, however, I took a turn for the worse. It was a SATURDAY! I thought to myself, “Who does this to themselves on a weekend?” (this was worse than animal cruelty). I was irritable, hangry, (hungry as hell) and really wanted to shoot someone as I wasn’t allowed to have coffee at all. I went to work hoping to take my mind off of the Garden Grill’s mac and cheese plate I preferred to be eating. Additionally, I abandoned the salt water flush on day 3 and opted for the dieter’s tea, I was tired of swallowing the ocean.

So we finally approached Day 4 and, needless to say, I felt pretty good. I started seeing results and felt much lighter than I did before. My clothes were also fitting better, I managed to get into a pair of size 6 slacks that had been a little too close for comfort for a minute, and felt quite “chuffed” (that means excited in London slang).

Now I couldn’t wait to get to Day 5 because FOLKS! Let me tell you, this was my worse day EVER!!!! I woke up feeling as if any minute I would reach for the phone to dial 911, (while praying I’d still be alive to even speak). I mean, I literally felt like my body was shutting down. I was sweating profusely, my stomach felt hollow as though I had not eaten for decades, I was terribly weak, my heart was racing, while getting dressed I had to lay on my bed three times to catch my breath. I felt like something was terribly wrong, only to find out from Nadia that this was my “low day”. Apparently, a low day is quite normal, and yours may not be on day 5 like mine, it could be day 3, 4, whatever day it chooses. But guys, when that low day comes, believe a sista, be afraid, be very afraid!

 On day 6 I was convinced that Emily Rose had taken over my body and that I was demon possessed the day before, because why on earth am I so damn happy and chirpy? As if this horrible phenomenon didn’t just happen to me 24 hours ago? I felt great, I was even less hungry than before, and had no after effects of the feeling I had on day 5. My smoothie tasted delicious on this day, and the salad’s condiments were ramped up! I was finally near the finish line, and I could see my doubles from Trinidad in the freezer slowly getting naked for me, then I thought to myself; do I even still want them? I’ve come this far. Time will tell.

“Well would ya look at God”. we finally made it to day 7! I felt almost nostalgic when it arrived. I couldn’t believe the journey was now over, and it was back to reality and promising myself to finally stay on the wagon again. I was sad but happy at the same time, because now it meant that I had to really buckle down on my diet and nutrition choices again. Time to reject the talking cookies in Epicurean, looking the other way when at The Larder’s desert section, and telling my favourite Oreo cookies that we need some space in our relationship.

I was even more happy when my weigh in came that morning to discover that I lost a total of 7lbs! I have actually reached my goal weight now, so imagine if I did the 10-day cleanse. Would I do it again? Most definitely! Maybe next time around I’ll brave the 10-day storm and see what happens, till then I have to make it through Pumpkin Spice and Ham and Turkey season, stay tuned guys!

 

If you are interested in doing the green smoothie cleanse, please contact:
Nadia Peters (772-9705) FB Page: Blendz IG Page: blendz_on_the_go

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Sip and Savour 2018!

img-20181014-wa0033Sip and Savour 2018!

So here we are you know who you are, my Generation X peeps!

It’s almost end of year, but didn’t 2018 just begin? Like seriously. I haven’t even begun to change the world and now over 40, I’m considered a “middle adult, who knew that was a thing? I’m only now getting the hang of vaping (if you don’t know what that is, check a Generation Z’ers blog) since my last vacation and the year is almost over.

Summer is done and that means Carnival and its bump and grind festivities have left us either in serious tabanca mode or sheer misery until 2019. So, I have been faced with this dilemma for quite some time, since entering my forties. Wow, that was so scary to type just now and I’m sure a lot of you have too, what in god’s name is there to do now?

Fete season is over…so where does that leave us the grown and sexy folk who still want to party and mingle on this island? I personally have had enough of the palancing and jamming once Carnival is over, (for the love of God done wid da soca!!). My metabolism isn’t what it used to be anymore and I can only take so much DJ screams, push back and “6:30” stances in my peripheral vision.

Last year I was invited to a relatively new event called Sip and Savor, held at the Wadadli Animal Park in Lyon’s Estate; I immediately licked my lips when I was informed this was a wine tasting event, (for me this translated to GROWN AND SEXY AFFAIR). Y’all know I don’t pass up an opportunity to clink my glass with some good wine. I was excited, but much to my dismay I was travelling and missed out.

 
So this year I decided that I was going hell or high water, and I was dragging my girlfriend with me, who might I add doesn’t get out much but neither do I. So we agreed that we were gonna do this, I could forefeit Netflix and my Firestick for one Sunday (couldn’t I?) YES!! I could, besides I didn’t cook and food was covered in my ticket and it meant that I could dress up and beat my face..lets go!

 
We arrived at the park around 4:30 pm, the event started promptly at 3 pm but who wants to open the gates? I like being fashionably late…needless to say that I am a shameless Antiguan as I had absolutely no idea where this venue was! I was however, pleasantly surprised when we arrived to see a large number of vehicles parked in a sloped field, I thought, “Dear God this may actually not be a waste of my Netflix time”.

 
As we got out of our vehicle my girlfriend is fussing over what shoes she should change into, meanwhile, I just wanna get my wine on! So we’re tagged and taxied up the massive hill (And thank goodness for that, Cause I’m not really about that life.  Upon entering the event, we were greeted by the soft serene stylings of Lacu Samuel’s steelpan. I thought, “This event has potential, definitely my kind of thing.

 
To set the scene, there were myriad tents throughout the area, each hosting different wine vendors and finger foods, (did I mention there was Sushi?…(Well will ya look at God!). The venue was already a nature park so the serene relaxing feel to it wasn’t that hard to achieve, park benches with patrons eating and relaxing had already been filled, and the draped coloured décor and stringed lights gave a soft ambiance to the day.

 
Paintings of various birds adorned the trees as we walked in, (again I’m shameless, so not sure if these were always there, or only for the event, but they were cute). We were like new kids on the block trying to feel our way around not really knowing where to start, this was our first time. I felt as if our parents dropped us off to daycare and now we were forced to survive until pickup time, but we got this!

 

Our first stop was the Saki Bar, hosted by Quin Farara, I knew once Quin and Lisa Farara were there this was going to be epic! And sure enough, when we got to the bar they had three different types of Saki and a Saki Sangria (Jesus sang to me.) We didn’t need to make a choice Saki Sangria it was and boy was it delicious! After we wolfed down the Saki Sangria we met a few acquaintances along the way, engaged in some much needed “catch up conversation” before realizing that everyone seemed to have a plate of food except us.

 
We began our line up at one of the tents for some delicious nibbles, much to our disappointment though we didn’t get as much as we anticipated. I’m thinking maybe we were a little too late and the nibbles at that tent ran out early, but that didn’t kill our spirit we were determined to find more food. We showed up at the desert station which had a variety of delicious sweet treats, they got me with the apple pie bites and caramel flan so I was already sold! (in the back of my mind I thought, it’s a good thing I’m going on a 7 day cleanse this week). “Damn these calories”

 
We later ventured off to the other side of the park where we saw other people lining up, and then the MC (Kenny Nibbs) introduced a young violinist from Barbados by the name of Wesley Morris on stage. I remembered seeing him on the flyer prior to and thinking (dear god please don’t let that violinist put us all to sleep). I had to literally eat my words, this 21 year old violinist was absolutely fantastic! People just couldn’t stop watching him, in no time everyone was at the front of the stage, his talent was simply amazing. I mean he played from Ed Sheeran to Machel Montana and many other artists, making us forget that we were hungry.

 
We realized that he was going to be playing for a while so we took a break and lined up again at a different tent that served heartier food, which was what we needed after more Saki and wine, “Ooh and we found more Sangria at another location as well” Once we ate our yummy pasta and seafood rice, we were back in front of the stage letting Wesley Morris soak into our veins.

I noticed that this was the type of event a lot of people our age (the Generation X folks) and Baby Boomers yearned for, everyone looked so happy to be out on a Sunday afternoon all dressed up, relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere. There was no loud DJ screaming, no Millenials with their hands on the ground, no one under the age of 30! We had finally found our calling! Sip and Savour gave everyone what they were looking for; serenity, relaxation, food, wine, conversation, entertainment, and most of all good clean fun.

As Morris played his very last set, while hunting for the last drop of Saki at Quin’s stall and swindling a glass of Moscato from a bartender, it was finally time to go! WHAT? Sigh…this cannot be; the day is over? For us it was, my girlfriend had to get home to her family and me, well, I just had to get home before I drank more wine than necessary!

 
Sip and Savour definitely met my expectations as a fairly new event. And I think that next year it will be even better, there are however, some areas that could use a bit of tweaking. Board menus on the outside of the tents so patrons can be aware of what’s available before lining up, more glasses, I also think that some more local entertainment should end the night, possibly some Asher Otto to end on a sultry party vibe. Antiguan’s party weird, I have been saying this for years, we just stand around and look at each other rather than get on with the show, sweat is good for the body, dancing doesn’t hurt and neither does a little Sip!

I know this was a little long, (but that’s how I do sometimes). I’m doing the most, let me do it!
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