Art

Kadooment costumes… the band launch!

You’ve seen it on this blog time and time again…. guess what… it’s about that time again! Recent years and more history described in detail can be found by clicking here

Masquerading (dressing up incognito or costume) is an old African tradition in which to remove evil spirits and bring luck to the village, they’d dance around in masks and costumes. The basic attire was produced of things such as grass, twine, beads, feathers and bones. If this intrigues you, I highly suggest doing more research. It’s pretty interesting to see then compared to the elaborate designs now decorating the streets. Today it’s a celebration involving hundreds and thousands of people in several different countries parading around in elaborate costumes, bedazzled skin jewelry and detailed body paint. 

Just like last year, I was able to work with a great team putting together the grand finale showing off this seasons costumes. Designers Sheena Gill and Sandie Archer got observe their creations come to life with a runway show hosted at Harbour Lights in Bridgetown. With my hands in the hair working with the talented Anya Wiles, creative makeup artists, a variety of jewels and all final touches complete, we were prepped and ready for the event! Here’s an entertaining video produced by Matt Stone, followed by a few photos capturing the evening. Enjoy more pictures at www.stonesharpimagesphotography.com


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Let’s play catch up – part 1

If you check out the prior post, you’ll grasp the idea that my blog took a well needed moment of hibernation as I focused on the more fragile priorities in my life. So first off, I want to thank all of you that contacted me during this break in loving concern, your messages came at what seemed to be at the perfect moments. To those who didn’t reach me directly but sent thoughts my way, I tell you that your energy was felt. Now, I’m excited to announce that over the next year you’ll begin to see changes in Her Happy Trails and I thank you in advance for your support! 

As the shift begins, let’s play back some of the glorious events that occurred during the last few months. 

For those of you who have been reading this blog for years, you’ll quickly recognize this amusing reunion. Florian is the name of a genuine friend you’ve seen me connect with over the years. We met back at Oktoberfest in Munich in 2011 and thats where it all began! From Crete Greece to California and Nevada through Germany and hitting Amsterdam his smile has appeared all over herhappytrails and now it’s glowing in Barbados!

Just for personal kicks, I put together a collage of us from all over the world.

There’s definitely a part of my blogging spirit that wishes I would of written daily with specific details of his journey to the island but as I mentioned before, the blog was resting. Florian means so much to me and his presence is unforgettable so here’s a “nutshell” post to reminisce of his visit to the Caribbean. 

His trip allowed for time to explore all varieties of the island. We walked your typical southern touristy area and lounged on the beautiful west coast beaches.  An all day tour seemed to be the highlight when we hit the very north peak of St.Lucy and explored the animal flower caves. Here’s a bundle of shots that hopefully gives you an idea of the amazing time we had.

Florian, I hear your silly dinner song whenever I say “candy bars” and Matt & I can’t go an entire car ride without saying “I bet Florian walked here”. I’ve stopped counting but am regularly tempted to add a number every time someone offers Bob Marley or green grass and giggle at the idea of saying, “No thanks, I prefer my lawn to be brown”. Because of your journey, I have a new perception of Bajan policemen and the bus system. Finally my friend, I must admit…. the peanuts are still in the sock. Thank you so much for the friendship, laughter and effort to not let another year pass by without a hug.

Before Florian had arrived, Matt and I did a little exploring for ourselves! Here are some of my favorite shots you can find on his Stone Sharp Images website if you’d like to order prints. I think they’re such a different view of this stunning island that I’ve known and loved for years. 

A few random pics of a few random times.

The video below is a look from our day out at sea. We were treated to experience the catamaran named Tiami!


All righty, that wraps up Barbados for now… Next post, USA!

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Love in the shape of music, art and traveling sand

Ok, catch up time! I’m currently sitting on the floor of the Fort Lauderdale airport. Why the floor? Ever have the time and space for stretching, flexing or relaxing? Use it! Check out my favorite airport session in the post Workout and rest up in Asian airports

Ok, why am I in route and where am I going… I’ll get back to that after I do a quick round up of the last few weeks. Here’s a few events that I probably should of done entirely separate posts for, but I didn’t, so here we go.

Music, art and beach time!

I’ll give you one guess on the talent that mom and I chose to spend time with? After the  several posts I’ve published on here, you’d have every right to assume it was the band Heritage. How lucky we were that my talented friends Dannica and her brother Ben were starting it off! Schatzti and the String Boffin opened in this backwoods feeling venue with grass as the dance floor, fire pits for warmth and a wooden built stage. Look familiar? This was the original venue in which I was first introduced to their happy and healing tunes. Welcome back to the Backyard Boogie



Art comes into play with a birthday! Matt celebrated his back on October 26th by hosting his first art reveal! From creative paint to photography and light painting, there was a variety of eye and mind stimulation. Go ahead, take a look around! 

Like what you see? Check out the real deal on his website by clicking Here!

We created a little bit of food art to compliment the drinks for the guests attending.

What goes well with food, drinks and art? Music of course! He brought in a few of his instruments for a proper set up and led with an open invite for whom ever wanted to participate.

What a stunning sunset to close out a successful birthday event!

The beach visit of this post has a warm undertone as there was great purpose for mom and I to wander to the shore with an empty container and camera. My sweet Grams back in Oklahoma has never seen the white sand of Florida and often questions the texture and shells that lay within. With this knowledge, mom had a brilliant idea of collecting some and bringing it back to her home in middle America. Good call mom!

Side note, I really did bring it back to her and it’s now the hot topic of her visitors (who are all used to the red dirt and rocks of Oklahoma).
So that wraps up a few pages to the last chapter, and yes, there’s a new one about to begin!  Thanks for supporting and being such a grand part of this incredible journey. I now invite you to love yourself and those around you with the pure kindness. Cheers to all of you beautiful souls! 

I’m being asked to stand as they just announced, “Now boarding, flight 385 direct to Bridgetown, Barbados.”

Next stop… Sandy toes and sun kissed salty hair!

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Barbados behind the lense of Craigg Basham

So my buddy shows up with a tiny piece of luggage, an awesome attitude and a camera the size of my head. Instead of posting details of where each photo is taken, I simply invite you to appreciate the vision behind his lense. Craigg (seen before in This girls on fire and Cliffs, caves and fish cakes) was able to capture some amazing shots that should be on postcards in my opinion.

Every photo you’re about to view came from him and that grown up camera of his. Other work by this artist can be viewed on doublegphotography.smugmug.com or on Instagram @ craiggjb_

Enjoy! 


…but wait, there’s more! 


Recognize the beauty below? You’ve seen the interior and the luxury that comes with it if you read the post, We aren’t gauranteed someday.

Did someone say a lime by the pool?! Yep. Craigg is the only one looking at the camera. Well done sir… Well done!

He even caught me in a couple unexpected moments. Kind of forces a deep breath every time I look at them.


Craigg wrote: As my 10 day trip comes to a close. I can’t help but thank the amazing human being responsible for my being here. We met during my time in Japan and have been friends ever since. She’s been such a gracious host, tour guide, and most importantly; an incredible friend. She showed me the island, introduced me to her friends and I was able to see the island life in a way only locals can. I’m eternally grateful for the hospitality shown. Thank you, Erika. May you always have happiness in your pocket and you’ll forever be the girl on fire (inside jokes) lol. 

Dear Craigg, you were such a wonderful guest (turned roommate) and I want to thank for your easy going attitude and flexibility while learning what “island time” truly means. Your fancy camera exposed the beauty I’ve always seen here and the time you took to capture it, I am so grateful for. It was also a familiar vibe to have someone around that actually got my one liners and could dish em’ right back! Thank you for playing that song every morning for me and finally, because of you… I now giggle every time it rains and I have to reach down to turn on the winesheild wipers. “Sweet mercy, please no! Ugh raaaaashole!”

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Music for the soul & friends for the spirit

You all should be familiar of the tunes I’ve been sharing (you’re welcome) all over this blog for years now. The band Heritage has made its way on several posts and some of my most memorable ones are Grass bottom dance floor4th of July, Santa Rosa beach style, and the unforgettable opportunity going on tour with them shown in A man becomes what he thinks about! This round, I was lucky enough to score two evenings during my visit to Florida. Check out the scene at Fudpuckers in Destin, Florida!

The second show was at a new outdoor venue on 30A!  The Hub offers a stage, several dining options, indoor/outdoor bars and a welcoming seating area for groups to gather.

Hello friends!

Nightfall just enhanced the mood with well placed lights and a perfect moon to end the evening. 


Not all live music has to come from a big stage to brighten the day. Let’s move on to a Sunday afternoon with some of the vibrant people shown above. Enlightened Studios is. Home based production company that provides an environment to “promote positivity through music production, performance, and education”. With bright colors, happy decor and a variety of instruments, this house shouts as a wonderful gathering place!

With a surrounding like this, how does one refrain from making music? They don’t.

Wander outside and you’ll find the garage turned lounge, ping pong court and art gallery. The fun just doesn’t end! 

Hugs, love and all the good vibes to go with! Thank you Cole for your irreplaceable smiling eyes and always open door. You make a difference in the lives around you!

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Light attracts light 

With a camera in hand and his face wearing an innocent but mischievous grin, he grabs the safety goggles and invites us to follow him. “I thought you said we were going to do some light painting photography?” (Image in my head: us in a studio covered in paint with cool lighting and a few snap shots). “We are… Kind of.” He replies. 

The gentleman I’m speaking of plays a magnificent role in the light attracts light equation of this post. Matt’s desire for an abundant life is shown not only through his artwork but the unmistakable joy he shares for nature, people and all the organic experiences in between. World, meet Matt Stone!

On this clear evening of darkness lit with bright stars, I allowed my trust to follow his footprints in the sand as we headed to the bay shore just over the main bridge in Panama City Beach. 

This is Rob, another brave smile joining us on this fantastic mini adventure.


Allow me introduce to you the art of steel wool photography. 

Step 1: Gather your tools. You’ll need a rope, steel wool, a metal kitchen whisk, a lighter, protective clothing  with goggles and gloves, an open mind and fun loving people. 

Oh, and let’s not forget the camera! No, not your iPhone 12 point two-cool-for-school but a legit camera or as I call it, a “big kid camera”. Matt used a Canon 7D Mark II with an 8 mm fisheye lense. 


Step 2: Find a safe environment with nothing flammable within range and preferably next to (or in our case, directly in) a large body of water. 

 Step 3, 4 and 5: Let the fun continue! Set your camera up properly with a 20-30 second shutter speed. Your partner in crime then gets in place and starts the show. By rubbing a lighter or 9 volt battery against the wool, it will start sparking but won’t really produce any flames (thankfully). This is go time in which the holder swings the rope in circles to create a globe styled design with hot ambers lighting the sky. Bouncing off rocks, sizzling to the water and circling the masters head, the camera captures several strands of the ambers path. A strong enough launch to have me dancing and dodging a few red hot drops on shore!
Here are just a few of the shots we captured that night. If I would have recorded audio along side these episodes, you’d witness a few reactions of amazement, a couple screeches of fire kissing the skin and an abundunce of pure laughter. (Sounds like an entertaining evening to me!)


The following night they returned and created some new angles with vibrant colors under a local bridge. Brilliant!


Another art form is light painting photography. Simply put, it’s just a magical way to enhance a photo with demensional light designs. We had some light-hearted fun with it! Pun intended.


Leave it to Matt to take my “I wonder if you…”  thoughts and turn them into a beautiful reality. I mentioned creating a heart. He did the rest!


Matt, thank you for the beginning of a new chapter to this beautiful book of art, freedom and universal peace. Everyone needs a modern day super hero 😉

If you want to check out more of his work please check out his insta @stone_sharp_images.

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The greatest show on earth

Monday and Tuesday make up the grand finale of the previous weeks celebrating Carnival in Trinidad, “The greatest show on earth”. Costumes were distributed to the participants and they’ve been gearing up for the next 48 hours of prancing, dancing, drinking and eating (only if you dare while squeezed into those barely there bikinis). 

A house or hotel room this time of year typically has a few areas designated towards Carnival.  Costumes, clothes, drinks, coolers, and enough random wrist bands from all the parties to create a chain-link fence. Here we have bedazzled tanks and itty-bitty bikini bottoms being stretched over chairs, believe me from experience… It’s necessary. A makeup table that looks like a production off a movie set accompanied by enough hair product to open a salon. An abundance of jewels, beads, chains, art supplies and one hot glue gun for the universal fix-it tool.


Complimentary survival tray provided by the hostess. Jax, you’re amazing!  

Ooh and what did we find here? Sneak-a-nap between parties (with the Barbados flag in hand.. way to represent Clint!)

 

My contribution to this controlled chaos? Hair skills. I found myself behind the scenes for this magical time of year with the honor of making each hair client feel even more spectacular that they already are. Here’s a look at what my hands were doing while all of this was going on.    

 

Where did I find the space for these lovely ladies? Thanks to Vanessa at Bikini Cabana I was able to set up a make-shift salon connected to her store. Here’s a few examples of what they offer (especailly for the “Monday wear” described below). How I walked away without giving in and purchasing something is still beyond me.

Carnival Monday is less intense in regards to the length of time they parade the streets and the extent of the costumes.  The women create their own “Monday wear” by adjusting dresses, customizing swimsuits or simply rockin it raw and casual. Carnival Tuesday is the “full shibang” with head pieces, feathers, beads, diamonds and sparkles. The following is a mesh of both days, random sights, a variety of looks and too much fun. 

     

           
  For some of the most brilliant photos of these costumes, please visit the page of an upcoming photographer who captured the vibrance exuding from the day.  World, meet Keshav D. Ramnath!

Towards the end of the day, I took advantage of a different perspective. Where was I? My new friend Ashleigh is close with the owner of Studio, a hidden gem that happened to have a portion of the bands crossing right in front! Funky decor, happy people, Prosecco and a balcony view… Perfect! 

   They even offered complimentary tasty treats (enter a puckered up sarcastic face here).  These are salt prunes soaked in Tequila. I was keen for the Tequila, not so much the salty prune.  I’ve had worse, but I didn’t go back for seconds. 

As the better part of the day continued, the party didn’t quit. The music still echoed through the streets of Port of Spain as the participants went strong in full costume.  How did they manage to keep that gorgeous fresh look?  I’d personally like to take partial credit. My position on these days placed me at the lunch break in the Bliss tent. I was there for any girls request to touch up their lovely locks. In the following post you’ll get a glimpse of what you don’t see from the road. Courtesy of Bikini Cabana, I was able to be front and center in my favorite spot… Behind the chair! 

  

Above photo by Peter Sheppard
 

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Tour me Trinidad!

Before arriving to Trinidad, I was informed that it’s mainly industrial with busy city streets.  For those who “warned me” of this, I fear that you haven’t seen the greener side of this beautiful country. Our friends (dubbed amazing tour guides) took us to 3 attractions that I’m sure are in every travel guidebook for this lovely island.

First stop was in the Tucker Valley in Chaguaramas to enjoy a walk through a popular trail. This peaceful hill is decorated with arches of green bush which is home to howler monkeys, spiders the size of silver dollars and the most vibrant of butterflies. Hopefully these photos speak in a simple language expressing the natural essence of the Bamboo Cathedral.      

        

       
    
 

Moving to another location, we found ourselves at one of the more famous religious sites in Trinidad. It’s an 85 ft high staue of Hanuman Murthi which has been claimed to be the largest outside of India. To the general public this hindu god looks like a peacful red monkey showing off vibant colors and detailed work within his garments.  

    

After reading the caution sign of Ashram rules, I questioned if a handstand would be acceptable here on the sacred grounds (especially after seeing a sign clearly stating no exercise). Would a handstand classify as some sort of fitness activity? My intentions were far from wanting to offend anyone or an entire culture for that matter so I chose to do an upside-down handstand.   

  A few confused yet entertained looks came from the ground keepers, so I asked if it would be honorable if I did a proper handstand. The response was not only positive, but encouraging!

 

   
 
A short distance from Hanuman is an eye catching site full of colors, two adorable elephants and another design on the ground that I’d love to have hanging on a piece of silk in my room.  Beautiful!

   
 

  Next up is called Temple in the sea. It was constructed (started) in 1947 by a determined laborer named Sewdass Sadhu. His story of success is unique and I highly suggest you research further if you have interest in learning of his drive led by faith and passion. For now, you’re getting a visual tour… walk with me!

When you first approach the seaside, you’ll notice the sets of worn but colorful flags that are half emerged underwater. At first, I thought the ceramic bowls and dolls were just a part of careless litter until I was informed that it was actually the reminisce of a traditional ceremony. What would yo think?  

   Then there was the little boat that captured my attention.

 

My favorite part of this site was the peaceful walkway that gave you plenty of thinking time as you neared the main temple. 

 Along the way, we ran into this man who was there to pray at the shrine of God Shiva. He gave us a quick lesson on the intricate manner in which he does this, down to the number of leaves from specific trees to the amount of time per placement. He practices this weekly. 

   

   
I made sure I was on the outer edge of the temple (just in case) before showing my feet to the sky. 
 
Sneak peek from what’s next to come…

 
 

 

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Last bundle of Barbados… for now.

Confession time. I’ve been so consumed with an abundance of events, exciting adventures and new friends that any spare time I’ve had, was taken by eating, pretending to sleep or getting ready for the next excursion. I’ve also learned that a blog can wait when the elderly man next to you on the plane decides to tell you a story or you get a spontanious invite during your prime writing time. With that said, here’s what I’m going to do for my own sanity and the benefit of future posts. Since so much has been happening, I’m simply going to compact the rest of Barbados into this one last post so I can catch you up to my current playground… country to be announced soon!

Here’s the rest from my island home away from home!

As you already know, my mom made a quick trip out to stay with me that allowed for us to share some of my favorite spots! A jaunt to Holders Market provided us with fruits, veggies, coconut chips and plenty of hugs from our earth loving friends!  

    
   
World, meet my dear Kenneth. His undeniable passion for this planet and the creations that abide here shouldn’t go unnoticed. His consistent smile and energy towards a healthy mind, body and spirit reaches beyond his wellness products. If you desire any of his goods or you’re on the island and what a one on one tour, please feel free to email him lutakenkwam60@gmail.com

Lovely Azizah fills our world using her creative new concepts for handbags and jewelry. I was actually sent on this day to pick up a purse for an international friend! If you’re interested in her designs please email her at aonifa@gmail.com or call (246) 267-1100.    

This happy fella created his product by hosting small dinner parties for friends and family, then expanded his ideas beyond the kitchen. He now serves up cocktails with local fruit, hand picked herbs and creativity. He’s still developing the business, so contact info is coming soon. 

On the way out of the market we stopped by for a familiar greeting from this Barbados born and raised author. Edison not only rememebred my name after our first meeting, but continued our conversations every week. Click here if you desire a deeper look into purchasing this entertaining book of short stories from the Caribbean!  

 Next up is a day at the pool where we first put our toes in the water during our first vacation here. If you can recall the post Not just a dolphin tour Barbados is the location I surprised her with for her 50th birthday in which we celebrated just months after her final chemotherapy treatment. The first collage is us at the same spot back in 2011.

  

We returned to Accra beach for a walk down memory lane and a day of relaxing. I blogged away while mom took a swim with my new friend from afar Fanie (you’ll meet him later). Happy thoughts and sunny smiles!

I’m sure you were wondering “will she get to see Cafe Moya?” Of course! Making her third appearance is the kind spirited Marguerite and her creations at one of my favorite eateries.  

An evening out started with a surprise reunion with the group that first invited us to return to this magnificent place! Back in 2011, the segway polo team traveled to my hometown of Folsom for the Woz Cup of Segway polo (a team sport similar to horse polo, except instead of playing on horseback, each player rides a Segway on the field). See Just the beginning of Barbados for more details.

Here’s a collage of our first meeting back in California.  

On this night we got the privilege of attending their gathering as they celebrated the trophy of this years Woz Cup. They are the 2015 World Champions!    
After a round of hugs and a few speeches, mom and I headed out with a few of the boys for an entertaining evening on a popular strip known as 2nd st. Thank you Ryan for bringing the sombrero… a brilliant accessory to a night out on the town!      

I’d like to close this post by showing a few random shots that were taken during the past weeks. No rhyme or reason, just more to admire from my favorite island.  
  

          

   
    

To my incredible friend that I get to call Mom. With full gratitude, I thank you for sharing your time, laughter and love with me. You are my biggest fan and I want you to know that I still feel your unconditional support even when we’re thousands of miles apart. I love you!
  
 
  

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Bridgetown Vs Bridgetown Market

Located on the southwest coast, Bridgetown is the capital city (and only city) in Barbados.  Like most cities in the world, you’ll find an array of contrasts within the busy streets. New cars and old bikes, historical sights next to booming businesses. There are street vendors selling colorful fruit, fresh veggies, snacks and random trinkets right outside of clothing shops, hair boutiques and popular mall stores. Casual cafes to nice restaurants sit along the dock offering local plates and if you’re looking for fast food (served with a side of greasy guilt) you can opt for one of the not so fast food joints on the island… Chefette, Burger King or KFC. 

FUN FACT: Barbados is the only country in the world in which McDonalds opened and closed due to lack of customers. The popular chain barely survived 6 months!

    

    
Have a sweet tooth? You can always find a bakery or local sugar shack but in this heat, the popular choice is anything cold, preferably frozen!   

If walking doesn’t suit your day, there’s never a lack of taxi’s eager to give you a lift. This cheerful cab driver was fine with us declining a ride, however was very dissatisfied that my head wrap didn’t have a bow in the back. He took it upon himself to make sure “dis angel sista gah-de-bow she deserve”. Thank you for brightening my day kind sir! 

 
We had two random priorities that consumed some of our time during our stroll through the city. First, my dear friend Shanda wasn’t going to put her poor feet through another step of blisters. Lucky for her, there’s several shoe stores conveniently located within the city. Success! 

 
Secondly, a handstand. In the years I’ve been enjoying this wonderful country, I have yet to snag an upside down smile in the Capital. Completed!

    

  
Thank you Shanda for sharing your creative photo abilities. Check out this cool shot! 

 

Moving on to the Bridgetown Market. Not to be confused with the capital city, this annual event happens in the final weekend of Cropover. With 3 days of jam packed entertainment, local cuisine and a variety of shopping, it’s known as one of the largest street fairs in the Caribbean. 

 Along the famous Spring Garden highway you’ll find a wide range of authentic Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken, macaroni pie, fish and chips, fried plantain as well as smaller vendors with local fruit drinks and baked goods.  

 This was our view in either direction where we sat to eat. You can imagine the contrast between this angle and the vibrant street behind us.  I suppose that’s just one more thing I love about this place. 

Once you’ve had your fill of edibles, there are plenty of items to wander through as you get lost in the colorful stalls lining the highway. If shopping is your intention, just look for the brightly colored stalls inviting you in for a stroll through unique products. Jewelry, bags, clothes and like items to plants, herbs, fruit and veggies.
   
   
 

If you walk down the paved road, you’ll be tempted to chip away to the soca music or at least stop and watch the ones dancing in front of the speakers. No joke, this fella was gettin’ down for the entire time we were there! 

 If you’re keen for more traditional tunes, just follow your ears to the small stage located behind the rainbow stalls.
 

So when you’re on the island during the entertaining week of Cropover, I’d suggest making time for a walk thorugh both the capital city as well as the annual Bridgetown Market.  I’ll leave you with a shot from our walk home. Hard not to smile, right?

 

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