Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tobago Trip: Last one, I promise.

View from the back of the TnT Express Ferry

Fun ferry ride to Trinidad

Views of Trinidad as we approached Port-of-Spain

The pics above show parts of our 2.5-hr ferry ride from Tobago to POS, Trinidad. Charles and I had wonderful conversation the entire ferry ride and it was so nice to be with him. We had a flight out of Trinidad the next morning at 6 AM.

After arriving in POS we hung out at the shopping mall near the airport to buy souvenirs and burn some hours.  It looked just like a typical American mall with food courts, boutiques and bookstores. We even took in a movie -- Transformers in 3D. Two 3D tickets, two large drinks, two candies and one large popcorn cost $21 USD!! This would have easily been $40-50 in the states.

This last video chronicles our trip home from Tobago, and it all takes place in Miami and on the plane. Don't tell American Airlines! I was not supposed to be running my camera during the Raleigh landing.  o__o

We had a five-hour layover before leaving for Raleigh, so we decided to hop on an express bus from the airport to South Beach. We were craving Cuban, so we popped into a restaurant called Havana 1957 before walking around for a while. This was certainly more fun than sitting under artificial lights playing Sudoku and eating airport food.

Hope you enjoyed the videos and thanks for bearing with me. The Tobago Trip videos are DONE.  It's over. I'm finished. Time to move on to other things... like adoption! We attended our first information session Tuesday, and we are excited beyond disappointment.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tobago Trip: Rainforest/Waterfall, Scenic Vistas

Here's video of our walk through the rainforest, ending with a breathtaking waterfall, and then lunch at Jemma's Treehouse Restaurant in Speyside, Tobago:

Next video, a torrential downpour followed by gorgeous views from the hills of Tobago -- perfect to watch while sipping breakroom coffee from your 4' x 4' cubicle.

After this, just ONE MORE VIDEO and then I'm done.

Tobago Trip: Doubles

The food in Trinidad & Tobago is so tasty.  During this video segment, we tried hot doubles for the first time. I found a recipe for street doubles and may give it a try, just to see how it turns out. The short description -- it's a hot, soft bread wrapped around chickpeas, warm spices (e.g. curry, cumin), and a thick, creamy sauce which soaks into the bread. Mmmm.... you eat it sort of sideways, like a taco.

Once I tried doubles, I really was hooked and ended up craving them daily. We bought them in pairs and ate them at all times of the day and night, as often as we could find them. For only $3.00 TT (the equivalent of 50-cents USD), you could hardly beat the price.

This video -- the 5th in a series from our trip -- includes gorgeous views from Ft. James, Ft. Bennet, and Turtle Beach in Tobago.  Have you ever seen what almonds look like on the tree?  I had not... until I went to Tobago. There's also a part toward the end of the video where our drive takes an interesting right turn. 

You just have to see it to understand. *smh*

Monday, July 25, 2011

Video-O-The-Day: Outfit of the Day, the Look for Le$$

You've probably figured out by now the winning ingredients for me are great natural hair and humor.  I just came across this little gem by BronzeGoddess01.  You must watch, and wait for it... wait for it...

Interesting accent!  She sounds like she's from Europe, the West Indies, and somewhere in the Midwest, all at one time.  Werk that accent, girl.

On a totally unrelated note, it finally rained in Raleigh!  We've been thunder-teased for the past week and a half, but it actually rained today for about 5 minutes.  Thank you, God. My hydrangea may now survive the summer.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tobago Trip: It's Bush Time, Baby

Shepherd chic might be hitting the runways this spring.  Here's some background info on this video, which you simply do not want to miss:

Our host, Dave's brother Phil, was bringing us fruit constantly from "the bush." All of us wanted to see what it looked like "down there" so we asked to go.  None of us, except for Phil, had the appropriate footwear.  So we descended down this fairly soft and wet hill in our sneakers dressed in whatever we could find to cover our bodies appropriately from the elements--bugs, sticky things, thorny brush, etc.  It was steamy hot down there and incredibly steep, so much so that we had to climb up in a horizontal pattern, zig-zagging our way back to the top of the hill.

We all *needed* those walking sticks for support both up and down that hill.  By my estimate, it took us about 10-15 minutes to descend, and about 20-25 to come back up. I am so glad Charles and I worked out on hills before this trip!

I still have more raw footage from this trip, so The Tobago Trip videos continue.  I'm an editing monster, grrr...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Even More Tobago Trip Video

Check out the personalized serenade at Fort King George, Tobago....

More Tobago trip video

The 2nd Tobago Trip video uploaded faster than I expected:

This one includes a trip to Buccoo Reef, a camera-hogging fish, and a refreshing dip right smack in the middle of a bay.  More to come over the weekend (hopefully).

Tobago videos... finally!

It's my first Tobago trip video -- yay!

Please feel free to comment, thumb it up (hopefully) or down (grr...), and be kind.  Despite my years of experience in broadcast news, obviously my camera skills are a tad bit rusty.  Shaky, shaky, shay-keeee!

(those Mayhem Allstate commercials crack me up)

The next video in the series is still uploading, but I'm about to go to bed.  I'll post it in the morning.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back from Vacation in Tobago

July 2011

Our highly-anticipated vacation on the island of Tobago finally came to fruition!  We spent ten days on the island living in the guest home of a family friend.  Tobago is simply gorgeous.  From breathtaking vistas to the multi-color blue ocean, and from the wonderful food (we ate right off the land) to the friendly people, those 10 days on the island blew me away.  The beaches we visited were so crystal clear... there's just so much to share from that trip, I'll have to break it up over a few days.

I noticed most women wore relaxed/straight styles, but I saw plenty of people -- men, women and kids -- with locs.  I only saw a handful of free form naturals/fros.  I've heard/read on other blogs that natural products are a bit harder to find in T&T.  I visited a few stores to see what kind of hair products the average person might score.  It was pretty much the same as what you'd see in an average BSS -- lots of petrolatum, mineral oil, etc.  I did notice the full line of Herbal Essences products.

As for my own hair, I was all over the place.  Because I swam in the ocean several times and took multiple showers a day due to heat and sweating, my plan for wearing twists the entire time just did not hold up.  I did twists, twist-outs, wash-n-go, puffs, and even had my friend do a couple of french braids one day.  Shea butter was my bestie for sealing and those basic styles.  My wash regimen didn't seem to be as effective, perhaps because the water was... harder?  It reminded me of West Texas, where soap didn't lather quite as well.  Even my normally very sudsy Dr. Wood's Shea Vision Liquid Black Soap didn't froth for me.  In the end, it didn't matter much.  Hair was easily a distant second to the daily activities, rest, great food, etc.  

More to come on Tobago :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Vacation Short-List of Natural Hair Supplies

Shea Butter

As I prep for summer vacation on an island, I know I have to bring some items with me but don't want to carry everything in my arsenal.  So what's going to be in my suitcase for hair as I head to the Southern Caribbean?

  • Shea Butter - I purchase my raw organic unrefined shea butter from, but you can find perfectly good shea butter at your local BSS as well.  Expect to pay about $8-10 USD for a one-pound container. This stuff is multi-purpose, which makes it a great item to have on hand for sealing and styling hair, as well as for daily moisturizing for face and body.  Hubby loves to use it too.  Having this takes the place of carrying lotion.
  • Aloe Vera Gel - My favorite brand is Fruit of the Earth, which you can get at most health food stores or online, but right now I'm trying Trader Joe's brand AVG.  I mix AVG with shea butter for face.  AVG is also nice for brushing down edges when wearing a puff.  Of course, it's also good for bug bites and cooling for sunburns.
  • Curly Pudding - I just can't get enough of this stuff for twists lately.  Curls by Sisters Smith (which I've mentioned like a thousand times on this blog already) is still on heavy rotation.
  • KimmayTube Leave-In - I heard Kimmay no longer has the video recipe up on YouTube, but if you do a search on Google for the leave-in, you'll find the easy recipe. 
  • Conditioner - I'll be using Trader Joe's Nourish & Shine.  I mixed it into an almost-empty bottle of the jojoba oil so I wouldn't have to carry much, plus the oil gives a boost of shine and slip for detangling.
  • Shampoo Bar - I'm bringing a Chagrin Valley Honey Beer shampoo bar, which is also a wonderful body soap.
I will also bring the basic styling tools along -- Denman brush, wide-tooth comb, some pretty scarves, Goody ouchless bands, and bobby pins.  It's going to be humid, so I'm not going to be a stickler about curl-definition.  Softness, easy styling, and easy cleaning after dips in the salty sea water will be more important.

I know it depends somewhat on where you're going, but what are your must-haves for hair while on vacation?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 30: One Thing Your Excited For

30-Day Blog Challenge - last day!

Happy Independence Day!

Just one thing about which I'm excited?!  No, no.  This won't do.

First of all, Happy Independence Day!  I pray you had a safe and blessed holiday weekend.  I'm excited about celebrating the day, relaxing in fellowship with friends and eating some high-quality meat, preferably cooked over an open flame.  What's more exciting than a weekend filled with fireworks? How about a summer vacation on a beautiful island? Oh yea.  I'm interested in seeing how I well I maintain my current hair regimen with limited products. I wonder how many travel-size tubes of curly pudding and shea butter I can pack without alarming the TSA? Maybe I'll just wear twists the whole time. I haven't decided yet.

I'm even more excited about starting a family. I'm not pregnant, but I do have great expectations (hey, you never know what God has in store!). We are starting foster care/adoption information sessions soon.  We are ready to learning as much as possible so we can share our love with a child (or children). It's going to be a whole new world.

Peabo and Regina just killed it on this one.

I'm also excited about writing more regularly and frequently. This challenge served as a great appetizer for me and showed me it is both possible and enjoyable to blog and still have a life. It prepped my palette for other creative pursuits, including video editing, making earrings, crafting and sketching. Thanks again to Tia of HerBestHair for posting the challenge.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 29: Five Weird Things You Like

30-Day Blog Challenge

Weird is so subjective.  One man's weirdness is another man's normal.  I had to ask my husband for help on this one.

1) Mushrooms - Apparently, according to Charles, this is a weird thing to like to eat. I like to saute my fungi in grapeseed oil with cilantro and a bit of salt and pepper.

2) Internal Cleanses - We just came off of an Acai Berry 10-Day Cleanse, and for me it was fantastic. Is it weird that I want to do it again, and again, and again? I'm just sayin'... it works. I feel light inside.

3) Looking at my Pores - Almost every night, I look at the pores on my nose in the mirror.  They are so huge to me. On an oddly related note, I rubbed the seed of a fresh mango on my face, left it on for a few minutes, and then wiped it off with a warm cloth.  It did amazing things for my skin!

4) Rummaging - There is something incredibly satisfying to me about going into antique stores, thrift shops, consignment shops, and places like TJMaxx, Marshall's, and Ross.  I like the hunt.  I get so bored in traditional department stores (unless I'm rummaging through a clearance rack).  Perhaps this is a more a function of me wanting to find the deals.

5) Bees - We have hostas blooming like crazy in our front yard, and these huge bumblebees come out everyday (where do they come from!) to collect from the pretty bell-shaped, pale purple flowers.  I like to watch the bees.  Sometimes I just go outside and stare at them as they collect pollen or do whatever bees do.

Go for yours, little bee!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 28: Somewhere You'd Like to Move to or Visit

30-Day Blog Challenge

My love of travel came from Mom and Dad. Every summer, we packed into some big vehicle -- Van, RV, Suburban -- and road tripped.  We drove from Texas to most of the East Coast, and covered a good portion of the California and Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico), California, and Colorado.  My dear father still likes to recount the story of a road trip we took to Alabama. I must have been two or three. The way he tells it (and he tells it so well), we stopped somewhere so he could nap in the back of the van. He woke up to me pulling his eyelid open.  ;)


Stateside, I would love to visit the the Northwest (Washington, Oregon) and the Grand Canyon.  I've flown over the Canyon a couple of times, and from the air you can see just how deep and broad it is.  I would like to see it from the ground (and hear the echo!).  My international list is a mile long -- Switzerland, Holland, Brazil, Liberia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Obviously, we are going to need a big travel fund.

Friday, July 1, 2011