Fashion. Style. Beauty Within You. Plussize. Caribbean Blogger. St.Maarten

St. Maarten Carnival: Fun, Fashion & Attitude!

Every year , the month of April transforms our little 37 square miles of paradise into a memorable experience for both tourists and locals alike. However, some would say that it is even extreme that we can put so much emphasis during the entire year for a 3 weeks event. I am still in "Carnival recovery mode"...hence the late blog post!

The truth is, that music has always been the catalyst that would connect people beyond culture and ethnicity. St.Maarten is host to hundreds of cultures and nationalities, but specially during the month of April, the only thing that matters island wide is to celebrate carnival. St.Maarten's Carnival has become one of the biggest celebration in the region. This year as we had a commemorative moment, we celebrated our 50th Carnival, we saw the island become even more alive with people from all over the world that wanted to be part of this major event.

As a reveler, and someone that has enjoyed Carnival from a child straight up to adulthood, I can truly say that the evolution has been palpable and of great significance to our tourism and hospitality industry. Over all it is the season for great food, creative drinks, friends, music and FASHION. Yes I said it: fashion: for months leading up to this cultural event, women plot and get very creative about the perfect and trendy wardrobe for 3 weeks long. And where would you ask does this display takes place? Everything happens in our Festival Village. The Festival Village is the central place for the concerts, the great food and drinks and ultimately for the fashion exchange for both men and women....Guys been making sure that they do their own forms of "Slayage" as well.

Parade Day: Colors...Fun...Glam...Lashes...Airbrush:This is Carnival!! Shout Out To Elvis Harrigan For This Awesome Shot! 

For me the excitement, into assembling and coordinating my looks for 3 weeks could be overwhelming, especially if I happen to start late with my selection process: this consist of reviewing everything that I have not worn (with tags) and identifying in what ways I can make it a trendy piece if need to be or even revamp it.  This of course involves your accessories, shoes, hair & makeup look for the infamous "Carnival Season". An enormous time is put into the planning of your various looks, every night serves a different purpose and therefore you need to ensure that you are dress to fit the part. We go from pageantry night to a wet fete, where you will be dancing to Soca beats under the pressure of water.In Pic: Pageantry Night, where you are expected to share a bit more glam

One of my strengths, is that I have a great seamstress, and she can create almost anything that I throw at her, I love to maintain my own style and sometimes, that goes beyond what you can find in a store or via your favorite on line retailer. This is also a tip that I offer to many people that ask me how do I come up with concepts to enhance my figure / curves, while still remaining very current within the fashion trends. In addition to having a seamstress that understands your vision, being able to take risks and simply wear what you want without waiting on approval from society, has certainly helped me through my journey of developing my own unique style. I can assure you that every year I become more daring...and without one single drop of regret. 

Jouvert Morning Ensemble: Gold Fringe Belt & Matching High Waist Panty / Customized T-shirt. Paired with fishnet stockings! Created by my Seamstress of over 20 years! 

My biggest challenge every year, has got to be getting my bathing suit to fit me "right". I think as a plus size reveler (or any reveler for that matter), you do want to be able to enjoy yourself during parade days while not only looking, but also feeling your best! I put a lot of emphasis into ensuring that it is the right fit and that I have the necessary support in all the key areas of my body. I personally think that this is a discussion that you need t have as soon as you know that you will be joining the parade. do not wait last minute for alterations and have an open communication with your troupe leader, do not be afraid to let them know that you are unhappy or that you need your piece to be altered to your liking. You spend a substantial amount of money, and it goes without saying that it is imperative for you to get your money's worth.

This right here, is for me the CORE of our Carnival Celebrations! 

Carnival for me is about creating memories with friends both locally and those that join us from the various parts of the world to come experience a one of a kind Carnival...while doing this, there is no harm in looking EXTRA cute ;)! 

Post Hurricane Irma (Finding The Positive Within All Of This Negativity)

Exactly one month and one day after Hurricane Irma ferociously devastated my 37 square miles of Sunshine & Paradise: St.Maarten, I decided today that it was time to start back writing. So this week, I will not talk about fashion or women related articles, but I will share with you, how HAPPY I am to have been granted the opportunity to be able to write again. My condolences go out to the many families that lost someone during this ordeal and also to our neighboring islands: Anguilla, St.Barths, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Barbuda, that also felt the wrath and destruction of this year's Hurricane Season.

 It has been a rough couple of weeks, and although as a country we face many challenges, our island has shown how resilient it is towards not giving up and getting back on our day at the time. I could re live the horrors of the past weeks, but I have chosen not to and instead will share with you what I have learned and what helped me stay strong during days where we thought: St.Maarten Will Never Smile Again! (official slogans post Irma #SXMWillSmileAgain #SXMStrong)

As I teenager, in 1995,  I also experienced a category 4 Hurricane, by the name of Luis. Up until September 5th, 2017, he had been the most spoke about storm that touched land. Then came Irma and she made sure wiped those memories with new ones, memories and images that will last us a lifetime and generations to come.

 You can also imagine that as a teenager, your perception of disaster is totally different from when you are an adult. Not only as an adult, but as a parent, a daughter, an employee and a citizen, your obligations are also different.

 After Irma, our island was declared in an estate of emergency (which was lifted on October 6th). With all the military presence and everything that took place (the media did enough to highlight that, and I will not do the same) it was evident that we would have never been prepared for a natural disaster on that level.

 However aid and relief came as soon as France and The Netherlands were able to assist (maybe you recall me mentioning that our island is divided in a French and Dutch part).

 There were a few things that kept me going, although there were many nights that I cried myself to sleep, while hugging my son and wondering what the survival challenge of the following day would be. Having to explain a 7 years old, why his stability and everything that he is known to be normal was disrupted, took a lot of creativity (lol), but I got through to him. My son and his well being was my main focus, and although, I unlike many parents chose to keep him with me, many days I second guessed myself, but I knew that whatever we was going through, we was going to go through it together, just like my parents did with me 22 years ago after the passing of Hurricane Luis.

 I can tell you that my appreciation for the little things in life, went up by a few notches. The value of money, although important showed me that 2 weeks after Irma, even if you had a FAT bank account, there was nothing you could have done or bought, because there was NO economy.

That moment when you realize that the Almighty has brought everyone to the same were all the same and we were all focused on the same thing: Surviving!

 My most important "Post Irma Lessons"

  • Learn to slow down: with the fast pace of life and the demands of society and your career, our favorite creed is "I do not have time". Well let me tell you that after Irma I had all the time in the world, and could not even feel guilty. We had no electricity or potable water for almost a month, and therefore certainly no internet. We had an island wide curfew, so you had nothing to do on the road. I appreciated the extra family time and valued the true essence of humanity.

  • Learn To Appreciate: Certainly my appreciation for the "glass is half full" VS. it being "half empty" has escalated. What you thought you could not live without, was exactly what kicked off your survival mode.

  • Technology should never be taken for granted, but do not become her slave. We experienced over 72  hours, where there was no form of communication in or out of the island. Frantic families overseas and locally trying to reach their loved ones. I was lucky and blessed to have my immediate family with me.

  • Live today: so many times you wait for the right moment to do things. Irma showed us that Mother Nature will do as she pleases whether you are prepared for the occasion or not. If you bought that dress today, wear it tomorrow....for tomorrow is promised to no one.

  • Humanity & remaining humble: throughout the various struggles, remain human, this does not cost you anything extra. From a young age I was taught that humbleness will get you, where your capital won't!

Irma may have knocked me down...But she did not take me out! Stay blessed and see you next week, where I will bring you, Fashion, Lifestyle &Caribbean Flare the only way that I know how to!!




You Got Soul? They Got Beaches! Aruba's SoulBeach Music Festival 2017

Con ta bai mi dushinan? That’s how they say “hello darlings” on our beautiful sister island Aruba. I am back from my first Blogger’s Trip within the context of the Soul Beach Music Festival 2017 and I don’t even know where to begin! I think I will start by expressing my utmost gratitude to my sponsors and supporters (Annastacia's Facialism, Amanja Jewelry, Artistic Drive, Inglot St.Maarten, Viva Signs, T's Closet, Nelly's Luxury Boutique, St.Maarten Tourist Office, Vanity First, Weekender, ST.Maarten Guavaberry and of course my friends for bearing with my Blogger's Itinerary) for making this trip a reality. It was a very busy and hectic 4 days, and the elation about this experience is most definitely worth the fatigue that I am now feeling. Thanks to Guerlain I can erase some of the visual tracks with the magical Arbeille Royale Eye Sculpt Serum and Daily Repair Serum. This product line with the active power of bee products promises healing at every key level of the skin, to repair wrinkles and loss of tissue firmness. Quenching, soothing and definitely a little miracle for exhausted skin. In the coming weeks I will tell you everything about my trip. For now, A short recap so you know what to expect.

My first encounter was with the delectable Aruban super woman Julie-Julie, during her radio program Morning Power at Power 101.7 FM. After that I had a talk with our own Lazer 101 at Moomba Beach where the beach events of the SBMF 2017 were happening. I was received as royalty by Ronchi de Cuba and his staff at Aruba’s first boutique to cater to the fashion needs of plus size women TRASH by Ronchi, and afterwards marveled in the wonders of handmade quality jewelry at Rita Serjeant. Comedy Night had me cracking up with Cedric The Entertainer’s follies.

Saturday was a plus size blogger’s dream, come true with a makeup session by the very talented Nicole Rodriguez, followed by a photo shoot at The Wine Room with photographer Michael Naar. The sweet white wine flowed richly and by the time I reached the Harbor Arena for the first SMBF concert featuring Faith Evans and Usher and The Roots my party mode was on!

I took some time for sightseeing on Sunday and visited “The Sunrise City” of San Nicolas. The street carrying the name of our sweet Sint Maarten, Sint Maartenstraat, was full of liveliness. You know it was then time to share some Sint Maarten Guavaberry with strangers who are now friends! The performance by Mary J Blige during the second concert night was uplifting, tear jerking and energizing! A roller coaster ride of emotions that only music can bring about.

My last day in Aruba was gone too quickly. After shopping for gifts to take back home, I indulged in some “me time” wit a well needed and deserved facial treatment at Annastacia’s Facialism, and a tour down the Gin lane that had me rambling like mad woman. You know I slept like a baby to embark on my trip back home the following early morning.

Stay tuned for details about my activities on Aruba, one Happy Island!