ISLANDpeople Mas Review 2014

Island People Mas Review

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This was my very first year playing with IP and while having done all my research, I was told they had the most vibes. Below is my review. 

REGISTRATION

I was so excited when IP launched that I was one of the very first to register. However, my section’s designer, Sonia Mack was responsible for handling registration and payment which I must say is a pain in the rear as it does not reflect the customer service I may have received from IP directly. Registration itself was extremely easy, there were times where the website was down, and Sonia Mack’s website was unavailable for a very long time so there was a lot of confusion as to what prices were. Please work on your website build out next year.

COMMUNICATION

The communication from IP was extremely LACK LUSTER! We waited too long to be told when registration would be open, and when the website would be fixed. There was absolutely no reveal of Monday wear.  They waited literally, two days prior to tell us when distribution dates were, which for people traveling into Trinidad is a headache! IP nor Sonia Mack was clear as to where we had to pick up our costume from, which created confusion also. Please do better , consistency is key. I do not think designers should be able to handle collection on IP’s behalf. Lastly, I truly believe people pay too much money for their costumes and the experience to be treated like we’re begging to play in your band.

COLLECTION

Our collection for Sonia’s section was at IP’s mascamp and not at the plaza which was a bit of a life saver. We picked up on our date given and there was only one person ahead of us. However, I was extremely disappointed to find that they had no receipt of what I had already paid for and depended on us to tell them what our balance was, and what additions we made.  I personally was missing my necklace but improvised and did not let that spoil my experience. Two women in my crew did not get their additions (headpiece, boyshorts) at all, which is disheartening.

CARNIVAL MONDAY

Carnival Monday we met the band late, but had no problem catching up to them as we had friends there who were able to tell us where the truck was. The band was pure vibes, however, there were too many non-masqueraders in the band. Considering one of the extraction members checked ME to see if I belonged, I expected better. It was so cramped at one point I could barely whine to the side. Truck #1 played the same 12 songs over and over. ANNOYING! Mostly Machel songs, which yeah yeah, I get his allegiance to the organization but my god, can we have a well-rounded mix of songs? The truck also drove too quickly. At one point, three trucks passed me while I was chipping, which I had to run to catch up to.  Not until the end of the day, did I end up near the last truck, where there was way more space, and a variety of music did I truly enjoy myself. And that was toward the end of the evening.

The food was dry, I chose the vege option and could barely finish all my food. The bartenders surely kept the drinks flowing. Whether I asked for water, coke by itself or my drink of choice there was no issue. They did however, run out of cups and my IP bag did not include an IP cup. So imagine my surprise when I had to beg a local KFC for some of their cups. Again, people pay way too much money to participate for this to be happening.

CARNIVAL TUESDAY

First of all, WHERE WAS THE COOLING TRUCK WE WERE PROMISED? In 90 degree weather, where people have been outside since 6/7AM, this was truly ridiculous. People were supposed to meet the band at 6AM at a certain location. 6:15AM the band moved to some random street.

I must say I loved the look of my costume and was comfortable in it but it was not the most practical. My tights were thoroughly ripped because of the belt, before we even met the judging section. One of my cousins eventually just took off the belt and ripped her tights off. Even I, took my belt off before I crossed the stage. There was also a jewel on the bra that stabbed me in the chest for most of the day, that most of us had bruising. I get that designers want to have the most beautiful costume but they should also be functional. The wait to cross the stage was unbearable in that heat, but I don’t think that is a reflection of IP.

We got to the rest stop ahead of the band which was a plus so there was no line for food, bathrooms or to find seating. I took the best nap in the bleachers. I did not find out until late about the ice cream stand and massage section, but I did enjoy both amenities once I found them. There should be better communication/signage about where amenities are. Also, there was no announcement of when the trucks left, so we had to run through Tribe to find IP.

Overall, I had an amazing time despite the things I listed above. I learned not to let things beyond my control ruin the actual experience for me. The vibes was on point, friendly masqueraders, and staff. The end of the night, (though left on the highway) was the most amazing once the sun went down and a truck hosed us down with water. I am not sure at this point if I will play with IP again, they seriously have to work on their communication and customer service.

Until next year,

Maris

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The Year (Okay Maybe Month) of Organization

Hi WordPress friends! 

Before I even begin my rant about how I’ve been organized all my life, let me just mention that we are now a month away from me landing on the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. 29 days left!! Woo-hoo! Anyway onto what this post is about. I’ve seen several posts on home and lifestyle blogs about how 2014 should be the year of organization. And yeah yeah for those of us who aren’t already on board, there are some great tips written in these articles. However, for an ocd-having woman like me, I was bored with their advice. However, although I may be good at keeping my home extremely clean and putting everything in their place, it doesn’t mean I didn’t have to declutter. Every 6 months I usually go through my bill file and sort and trash documents, so on that front I was pretty okay. But my underwear drawer and coat closet — yikes!! So yesterday evening, I neatly folded all my intimates and organized my coat closet by color (ocd remember?). After doing these things, I started realizing there are things I could be doing better. Like my linen closet. Though very neatly folded, I started feeling like my towels and sheets were a bit exposed. So i’ve given myself a project (yay busy bee). I plan to wander into all Goodwill’s and Salvation Army’s in the area until I have enough wicker/rattan baskets to store all these items and beautifully decorate my closet. 

What organizational tips do you have? What changes are you making this year? BTW — new app I just downloaded “Taasky” for managing your to-do list. This will be my second one, let’s see how this works — I tend to just use my reminders app, sometimes simple is best! 

 

xoxo 

maris

Perhaps I Can Handle A Cleanse

Oh boy, I don’t even remember how many days until Trinidad but I have been ready since last February. I’ve been thinking about doing a cleanse, but what do I really hope to accomplish? I don’t have that much weight to lose, but it might help my body get prepared for all the junk and alcohol I’m about to consume. Or perhaps I should wait until I come back to do said cleanse? I still need to do some research, smoothie cleanse, juice cleanse, vege cleanse? There are so many. 

I have some running to do however, to help with my breathing while partying and on the road. I also intend on running a half marathon sometime in my life. Preparation, preparation! 

12 Months A Volunteer: January

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Where: Landover, Maryland

Purpose: Eliminating Hungry amongst low-income families

Date: January 18th, 2014

Time: 8:30AM – 12:30 PM

For 2014 I decided that I wanted to volunteer on a monthly basis rather than every three months. In January, I volunteered with the Capital Area Food Bank by helping them set up and hand out groceries in their Landover, MD Mobile Market. It was fascinating to see how many needy families came out to get food despite the bitter 32 degree weather.

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I believe that the organization was extremely organized and knowledgable which made the experience very pleasant. From signing up for opportunities online (which I love) to arriving and dealing with experienced market managers, I thoroughly enjoyed working with Capital Area Food Bank and I am looking forward to helping them in the future.

What’s In My Bag

I always see fashion bloggers and some celebs doing posts on what’s in their pocketbooks and I decided I would post one for myself. I more than likely ALWAYS have a large tote bag. And my bag is always heavy.. One must wonder why. Do women really need all the things they carry in their bags? Let’s see what i’m toting around today.

 

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In my bag, I have my keys, an Ipad mini, aqua cosmetic bag, Ralph Lauren gloves, my glasses, and glasses case, an apple, car keys, Vince Camuto wallet, a small monogram journal, two Essie nail polishes, a bag holder and my smart trip. In the top right corner is my Kate Spade leopard print tote bag.

Not as overcrowded today… and I definitely painted my nails at work this morning, so I would conclude that yes, I do need everything I have in my tote bag.

 

Happy Wednesday!

maris

xoxo

Currently Reading…

purplehibiscus

I began reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about a week ago. And although I thought the book started off pretty slowly, the story has begun picking up and I am interested in the development of each of the characters. I am still in the third chapter so I cannot give my full opinion as yet, however, so far, this is a wonderful story about an overly religious yet abusive father and his relationship with his children, wife and the community in Nigeria.

Trinidad Carnival 2014 Preparation

OMG!! (Sorry to start with such exclamation)

But it will be another 48 days before my feet touch Trinidad’s soil. I have been preparing to get myself there for the past year. Before we get into the details of the physical preparation, let’s talk about the financial aspect. Many people want to visit the greatest show on earth at least once in their life and I think everyone should, however, masqueraders must be prepared to come out of pocket by A LOT. Here is a breakdown of the costs that we’ve incurred so far (some of you may be lucky to pay less depending on the band you play mas with/when you buy your flight)

  • A flight will cost you anywhere from $385 – $1080 depending on where you’re flying from and when you buy your ticket. A ticket from Miami, FL is on the cheaper end of this scale.
  • Costumes – $500 – 1200 USD (Backline)
  • Transportation – $200 – 600 USD
  • Food – $100 USD
  • Parties – $500 USD
  • Hotel – $460 USD (If sharing with friends). The average hotel cost is $350 a night.

Not to mention all the costs you do not calculate like buying clothing, souvenirs, making phone calls/ paying for WiFi etc. Now on to the important part! YOUR BODY!! I started working out heavy in September for Carnival, because I need to not only make sure I am toned but also have STAMINA! You will not survive carnival without stamina. Cardio, practicing to wine in your bathroom and finding out what alcohol works best for your body is imperative before you get there. So yes i’ve been practicing to drink and see how long it takes before I get tore up as well. My workout regimen has been to work out 3-4x a week. with a lot of muscle toning. I’m on the petite side of the scale so I do not have a lot of body fat to lose however, I do spend some time doing jumping jacks, running on the treadmill and climbing the elliptical so that my heart rate will get used to the strenuous activity i am about to put it through. I would HIGHLY recommend eating clean so that you’re not bloated before you even get there. You need nutrition from vegetables, fruits and healthy fats and protein. Lean lean lean! And make sure you’re drinking lots of water, the last thing you want is to be hydrated. (Sounds like I need to make a carnival survival guide as well)

This year we’re playing mas with Island People Mas — needless to say I cannot contain my excitement. I plan to wear little to no clothes as possible, not only will it be hot but i’ve been working out since September to show these abs off.

Music for the carnival season starts to launch as early as August the year before. As soon as Crop Over hits (Beginning of August) the soca tunes start to flow. So i have also been on top of that as well. I suggest checking out Julian’s Promos YouTube page for the most accurate soca list, they continually put up new songs throughout the week.

Fetes!! Yes its only January and my friends and I have another month and change to go but we’ve already chosen the fetes we’ll be attending. They are as follows (and usually all the way turned up as they are some of the most popular)

Thursday — Beach House All Inclusive ($200 USD)

Friday — La Barge Cooler Fete ($50 USD)

Saturday — Caesar’s Army A.M Jouvert ($90 USD) and Scorch Carnival Saturday ($72 USD)

Sunday — Sunny Side Up Breakfast Party ($130 USD)

*Tickets to these events can be found at ticketfederation.com*

Now back to my whining.. 🙂 Let the countdown continue!