Fashion from a backpack

Here comes the bride! 9-28-17

The term destination wedding refers to a location outside of your hometown that generally involves a gorgeous landscape in a distance place. Typically it lands at a snow capped mountain resort, inside a foreign castle or in my case, on a stunning tropical island. I called Barbados home for just long enough that it really wasn’t a “destination wedding”, however for a handful of our guests, it most certainly was!

If you’d rather just skip to the amazing Wedding video, click here!

Let’s begin with the landscape. Well, for starters it’s a beach!! We chose a quaint little surfers bar overlooking the southeast coast called Moonraker at Surfers Bay. It offered a partially covered outdoor seating area with a U shaped bar and an open section for my favorite part, the dancing! Our guests had the option of kicking their shoes off and walking in the sand, dancing on a wooden deck or socializing around an oversized bonfire. So we had love, earth, wood, fire, water, sun, stars, open air and an abundance of positive energy from all of the friends and family that gathered… a recipe for the perfect wedding.

Accommodations – Surfers Bay restaurant and bar was conveniently on the property of a colorful hotel called The Moonraker.

The wardrobe – Most of you have read a story or few that included my dear friend Bree. From our adventures in Chiang Mai, Thailand to her first visit to Barbados, she’s been a beautiful addition to my traveling adventures. What you may not of known is that when she isn’t backpacking, she’s an incredible fashion designer that has even worked in NYC for Ralph Lauren (friend bragging moment). As her gift to me, she designed and tailored my gown start to the very last pin before I walked the aisle. Matt wore a classic beige jacket that was once wore by his dad who was there with us in spirit.

The jewelry – I felt so honored to walk the aisle with an arm full of authentic bangles and an ankle decorated with jewel covered bands, all from India (another gift from Bree and her family). My wedding ring set is a combination of Matts opal birthstone and a diamond band given to me by his mother, a ring that was once given to her by his father…. again, I’m honored. The unique funky earrings? Those were $7.99 from Claire’s (a handy accessory boutique in the states).

The flowers – Instead of pre made bouquets or red roses, I went to a local florist (the day of the wedding) who so graciously allowed me to pick 12 flowers from a variety of local bundles in their back freezer. I don’t know too many businesses elsewhere that would of been so eager to help a last minute Gypsy bride.

The ceremony – my walk down the grassy aisle lead me to a dozen of my dearest girlfriends from around the world, each holding a single tropical flower. As I hugged and thanked them for their friendship, attendance and love, I collected each flower leaving me with a bouquet tied up by a strip of lace that was left over from my dress. This was all being serenaded by Matt on the guitar before he passed it along to come and greet me for the rest of my walk. The service was guided by our dear friend Derek who peacefully spoke about higher connection and divine love. We said our own vows, exchanged rings and sealed it with a kiss.

Drinking and dining – The Bajans and their heartfelt gifts. Instead of presents we asked each local guest to bring a dish to share. (If you’re wondering what the island cuisine consists of, take a moment to check out the posts Welcome to Barbados, let’s eat! and Mr.Delicious doesn’t serve pig tail . Our wedding spread ranged from traditional recipes to creative desserts and most definitely extended beyond what any catering company could of offered. Drinks? Not a dry mouth in the place, if a guests didn’t bring food we invited them to bring a beverage to place on the open bar. Wine, champagne, cases of local beer, liquor, juice, soda and what Barbados festivity would be complete without rum punch! Música! Personally speaking, I can survive any party regardless of food, drink or decorations as long as I have happy people and good music. As if our plans couldn’t of gone any smoother, in walks Dj Trev! He perfectly mixed every genre we wanted to hear, left out all of the songs we didn’t want and had a dance floor that never went empty. He was the icing on our wedding cake!…and the party kept going… and going! I’m so grateful for the experience and love we were able to capture, I’ll hold it dearly forever!

…to be continued.

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Cropover! My 6th, his 1st… not our last.

2017 was my 6th Cropover in a row. For those of you that didn’t indulge in those fun posts, I invite you to take a peek back and check out previous Kadooment posts! Last year Matt and I chose a few of the events to celebrate and went for it!

Foreday morning Jam! Mud, paint, powder, people and drinks. That about sums up the few miles we parade through the back streets of Barbados. Music trucks lead the way followed by mobile bars serving any beverage you’d like. Gallons of paint get thrown throughout the crowd with powder being launched into the air. The mud? Barrels (dubbed for mud baths later on after 6 too many rum punches) are towed behind trucks so participants can dig in and sling handfuls over their friends. This midnight celebration is nothing to miss out on!

The annual boat cruise that I’m honored to attend each year (limited guests with a waiting list) has got to be my favorite event of this entire week. Personally I think that’s made clear by the photos I walk away with each year! Click here to see one of the most highlighted cruises from the past!

This year, Matt was able to be my hot date and got to witness the shinaniguns of the M.C.Buccaneer!

There’s really no need for an excuse, however if I needed a reason for a shot from Daniel, it would fall in the hands of tradition. Every year past, he’s found me to fulfill our annual greeting!

The first collage is a combination of years past followed by a phot of the most recent. Kadooment marks the finale of the crops being over and introduces the grand parade that everyone has been preparing for. Elaborate costumes and skin jewel designs barely cover the bodies of the ones walking the street. If you haven’t read any of the past posts on this event at least take a look at Kadooment 2012, as it describes the history and present culture of it all. Here is a visual gift of the previous 5 years of Kadooment:

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Last year I decided to get a little quirky and hand make a tutu to enhance my costume. A few more bedazzles and some added fabric made it all complete!

Matt had no problem sharing his office with glitter, jewels, fabric and glue until I completed my project… Well, he had no complaint until his confession of finding glitter in manly places that sparkles don’t belong.

Finally the day had arrived! 4am and a couple thousand friends means we’re on our way!

Pictures may say 1000 words, but videos share a million memories! Here’s the video created by Matt Stone (my amazing husband) of Stone Sharp Images.

Video of Kadooment 2017!

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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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Surf, fish and strike a Pose! 

In the past few weeks Barbados has hosted some entertaining events bringing in people from all over the world.  Matt and I got to play a small role in a bundle of them, so let’s review!

First up was a surf competition on the popular beach called Drill Hall, better known as Brandon’s Beach. Local Barbadians competed along side surfers from Hawaii, Japan, Brazil, Australia, USA, France, Spain and other countries. It was heavenly to witness!

I was lucky enough to watch Matt work his magic from the shore line. What a view, eh? Not everyone gets to work under a palm tree surrounded by happy people, beautiful scenery and positive vibes. #grateful

 Some of my favorite shots of the day…

For event details, results and more photos please visit www.worldsurfleague.com

Ever heard of a fishing tournament ending at a yacht club with live music and a runway show? Me either…. until now! I don’t have many photos from the actual tournament as our part was primarily with the after party hosted at Port Saint Charles. Matt was the man behind the camera!

The drinks were flowing, the music was a hit (as always with Moo Town) and now the models take the stage! The dress attire may look familiar as this will be the third production that I’ve gotten to work with Kelly representing her unique boutique. These fun clips you can see in Kelly’s Kloset and Kelly does it again! 

Thank you Michelle and Kelly for the welcoming energy and wonderful experience! For more photos of the events above, please visit www.stonesharpimagesphotography.com

Sneak peak for the next post… (Enter really excited face here!) 

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Pumpkins and parties!

Halloween. The dictionary says it’s the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows’ Day on 1 November and All Souls’ Day on 2 November, thus giving the holiday on 31 October the full name of All Hallows’ Eve. To most of us, it’s a family friendly holiday full of costumes, candy and spooky decorations. To others it’s the perfect excuse for adult parties in which grown-ups act out of character (or fully in) as they strut around in costume.

Since I’ve been on the road, my Halloween celebrations have ranged from completely non existent like in donating blood at the Angkor Children’s Hospital in Cambodia to the skull and bones of the Oakland Raiders game. Last year I decided to sport the 80’s while painting up my buddy Hayden before a night out in the capital city of Sacramento, California. 

Best costumes of my backpacking journey most definitely go to the Sevens Tournament in New Zealand!

Halloween 2016 took me covered in pumpkin guts to pool side costume parties. Let’s begin!

First up, let me reintroduce you to Cole, creator and director of Enlightened Studios. You may recognize him from the post Music for the soul and friends for the spirit. All of us feeling like children, we gathered some pumpkins and snacks before clearing an area for the mess to unfold. Picking your pumpkin and design seems like it should be an easy task, but I feel like most of our time (meaning my moms) was spent on this process.

Luckily there’s extra thinking time as you hollow out each canvas. Sensitive to slimy seedy textures? This wouldn’t be a task for you then.

Pumpkins picked, scraped and cleaned… check! Now comes the carving tools to bring your ideas to life. Warning, these “carving knives” may appear stronger than they really are.

While waiting for everyone (mom) to finish, I lightly covered our seeds in coconut oil and a dash of sea salt for some home roasted treats, delicious! Cole went above and beyond and even painted his ninja turtle pumpkin green! I dig it.

After hours of snacks, pumpkin guts and laughing to tears we felt accomplished with our creations. Mom did the peace sign that sits to the left of Coles Ninja turtle and I went with the Om symbol.

Next up, dress up! I was lucky enough to be invited to a few separate parties to get good use of my costume. Fun fact, I owned most of my attire all ready, just added a few tattoos, gems and bedazzled jewels. 

The first gathering was a bundle of live music! With a gypsy sister (mom) as my hot date, we enjoyed our evening at the 30a singer and songwriter cafe. We were graced with the presence of Cole (Ace Ventura) from our pumpkin carving night and my angel of a friend Erica!

The following night was a larger party located in the same spot from the post Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach

My hot date for this evening? Enter Matt, remember him from Light attracts light? With a last minute decision, I through my same costume on and put a dash of eyeliner on him. A face tattoo and jacket created as close to a rocker as we could get him before we headed off!

A glossy swimming pool and clear sky made for the perfect outdoor party. Care to dance? A popular DJ played all night! Thirsty? Easy accessible bars surrounded the venue. Notice the photos projected on the wall? They were taken throughout the night and exposed for all to see, over and over… and over again. Photo from above curtesy of alysbeach.com, check it out for more events! 

Our friends arrived as Cruella Deville and a Dalmatian, classic. Amongst others was a variety of characters from movies, politics and of course your traditional zombies, princesses, ghosts and the wizard of oz crew.
That concludes my better late than never Halloween post. Next up, the great outdoors! Till then, just keep smiling…

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Tek off somethin and pelt it away!

Instead of repeating myself in describing Cropover and the Grand Kadooment, I invite you to check out my friends from Tree Frog Trips and their post called Beginners guide to Cropover. They do a fantastic job of guiding you through the week of celebrations. On this post, you’re going to get a bundle of photos and a general layout of our fabulous day. Enjoy!

Here are memories from past years. Just click on the title if you’d like to read the entire post.

My first Kadooment!


Second time down de road – 2013

Jump up all day! 2014

So many feathers in 2015!

Let’s start 2016! Costume prepped and alarm is set for dark-o-thirty. This year I was up styling hair for some of the gorgeous girls of kadooment while others were just getting home and going to bed.

 
Who’s open at 3:45 in the morning? The one and only Nina Thomas Salon located in Limegrove, one of the newest malls in Barbados. 

With morning treats and some bubbly to offer, we worked through sunrise prepping for the big day. Fun fact, my first client was actually a repeat client from Trinidad Carnival! Second fact, the stunning girl to the right of the bottom photo is beautiful Nina herself! I was honored to style her hair and had a blast with the others. Thank you Nina for the oppurtunity! 

For more action at this salon please visit Insatgram @ ninathomassalon, click here for their Facebook page and to make an appointment please call 246-622-2385.

So I finished up and flew back to the house to greet my friends arriving. A bus ride and short walk lead us to the main meeting point.

The stage!

Of course a shot for the Handstanding around the world page was a must! My favorite face in the phots below is the full-on head turn and curious frown from the woman on the right in purple.

After a handstand, a few greetings and a feather check, it’s time to cross the stage!

Thank you Blue box cart and your shared photos. You clearly have a talent of capturing the true happiness that stems from the people sporting your costumes and supporting the legend that still continues. To read a small story on the history of this band that started back in 1982, check out the beginning years at Bajanthings.com.

Photo Creds: Myself, Bruce Carroll Mayhew, Maria Hatch, Barbara Greenidge, Craigg Basham, Wave, Zulu, Aura and other random attendees.

After crossing the stage we were ready to hit the road. “De road” is where the music blares an inviting beat for all the participants to chip away in full costume. Thirsty already? Find a drink truck, lift your cup and make a request. These hard working bartenders keep the hydration (or dehydration) flowing throughout the entire trek.

Music pumpin, cup over flowing and friends rallying around… Time for bacchenal!E
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Everyone looking a little hot? I’m talking temperature, not just those stunning costumes. How do we cool down? We’ve got some options.


1. Tek of somethin and pelt it away!
(Or gently remove it and give it away). Throughout the parade a few of us start removing pieces of our outfits and gifting it to the little ones watching from the side.

2. Find the water showers coming from the side of the road!

3. “Accidentally” get in the way of water truck and dance through the spray! Another option is a good ol fashion snow cone.

You can imagine some of the sights seen from the visitors along the path . Maybe one year I’ll just attend as a bystander with a camera.

As the route hits the home stretch, the crowd starts to thin. Some go home, others head to after parties and a few simply don’t make it to the end. (I’ll spare the photos of those poor fellas). This year, a few of us headed back to the pleasure of an infinity pool with a view of the gorgeous west coast. As exciting as it is to get those costumes on, it’s even more refreshing to take them off! (Enter cheeky grin here).

That sums up yet another year down the road and the beginning of what some call PCD (post carnival depression). How do you over come such withdrawals? That’ll be in the next post!

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A friend I never met.

Every year for Cropover I write about the music, costumes, friends and fun that comes with trekking down the road on the first Monday of August. This year marks a different kind of post with an unexpected turn of events. I say with a heavy heart that the world lost a well known “happy go lucky” girl during the Grand Kadooment. As the participants split to let the ambulance go through, I believe nobody could fathom the purpose of this emergency vehicle. August 1, 2016 Renee Sheppard Ratcliffe had callapsed and was taken away to rest in peace.

Renee was a leader in events and was often called upon for a “good belly laugh” or “sincere hug”. “You either loved her or hated to love her becasue she was real… All of the time”. 

I use quotes because I personally never got the privilege of meeting Renee, these are just words I’m hearing from my friends who knew her well. With a passion for life she was very active in the community, often reaching beyond the call of duty and supporting local gatherings. From Cropover to her twin boys, it seems Renee had a abundunce of loving energy and an unstoppable driving force. 

Judging alone from the photos being spread around, who wouldn’t want to be this girls friend?! The smiles, the mid laughter snap shots, her enthusiasm for well… Everything! From her admiration of dragonflies to the color purple, Renee has made an impression that will stick with the loved ones she departed from as well as the strangers (like myself) that now know of her spirit.


I watched the shock spread across the crowd as the day progressed, the struggle was clear. Do we all go home and try to absorb what had just happened or should we power through and continue jumping in her name. Considering she was a bandleader and designer, Cropover was when she was in her highest of element. In fact, she had just been interviewed prior to us taking the road. I believe her passion for this celebration guided most to live it up even harder and finish strong as Renee, (from the sounds of it) wouldn’t of wanted it any other way. 

After the costumes were retired and all settled down, the island joined to honor her name with a proper setting and peaceful ceremony. 

Renee, I thank you for the impact you’ve recently made in the world that surrounds me. Your story is just one more addition amplifying my gratitude for this fragile life. I’ll allow your quick departure to be a positive reality check in my own daily routine… that I don’t pass up the opportunity to greet someone with a smile, laugh a little louder, love unconditionally and be thankful for my health and very existence.

“Realize deeply, that the present moment is all you ever have.” Eckhart Tolle

“Maybe the best thing to do is stop figuring where you’re going and start enjoying where you’re at.”

“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Mothe Teresa

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Kelly does it again!

Making her third appearance on this blog and hosting numerous shows on the island of Barbaods I’m honored to once again introduce you to my friend Kelly Anne. The creator, owner and dedicated operator of Kelly’s Kloset.

In past posts you can see the entire set up for The Cliff as well as more behind the scenes of what takes place prior to the show. For this read, I’m simply going to put some photos of the action and invite you to visit Kelly’s Kloset Facebook page.

I apologize for the lack of clarity in the photos as they’re a collection from random cameras and photographers.

I was again so fortunate to have the pleasure of doing these gorgeous girls hair backstage. Here we all are prepping for the runway!


Let the show begin!

Find more of Kelly on Instagram @ kellyskloset246. Local girls, she has multiple locations on the island in which requires a scheduled visit… It’s as easy as a phone call! 246-234-9039

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Did the bride just arrive in a Uhaul?

World meet Katie, one of my dearest of friends who started this wonderful journey of traveling with me many years ago. Our bus catching, airport sleeping, scary flight surviving, foreign language cherades playing was all prior to this blog. I will say however, it was a huge reason of why it all started. Here’s a fun collage to show you some of our smiles from Vegas to New York, Belize, Mexico and Costa Rica. Although I didn’t think it possible due to her stunning looks and hilarious sense of humor, this incredible woman has found her match. I’m sure Austin, the groom to be, would agree that none hold a candle to Katie’s unconditional way of nurturing those around her and her unstoppable ability to brighten every room. On this day they gathered with family and friends to share their new path as a married couple and I’m so grateful I was there to be a part of it! 

6:00am- Three of us girls arrived to the park with a Uhaul to start the set up. 


A motherly smile is always welcome. Thanks for helping Momma Cathy!

7:30a- I left and returned with a proper coffee for Ms.Katie (Despite the horns, she was one the most angelic Brides I’ve ever worked with). Her wishes: everyone has a good time, there’s enough champagne to go around and to jump in a bounce house with her gown on. 

I asked, “You ordered a bounce house?!” Her reply, “Nope, just something I’d like to do”.

8:15a- The rest of the female crew arrived to help prep the venue. Did I mention that Katie designed and produced her entire wedding from handmade crafts to personalized center pieces? She was so organized that she even drew out diagrams for each tables layout. No stress, just clear instructions made with love. Way to designate girl!

Fun proud fact- Katie asked me to draw her seat holder for the adorable wooden swing. Small job, but I was honored.  

9:20a- Decision was made…what pre-wedding moments would be complete without the offering of bubbles!?

11:15a- All done and heading back to the house for hair, makeup and possibly (most likely) another glass of bubbly.
Noon thirty- Just a quick hour later we returned to the park for all final touches before our bride took the stage. This tent was the official bridal headquarters as well as the starting point for sweet Katie to walk the isle.
  

1:30p- I’m left speechless as I watch this beautifully strong woman walk to expand her well deserved happiness. 


In most weddings, what follows is much rejoicing with food, drinks and (let’s admit) a little awkward socializing with semi-strangers. On this day, I looked around and noticed that all were laughing, smiling and for what I could see, truly enjoying one and another’s company… and the cupcakes.

Pssst (to be said in a whisper) notice that’s Hayden? He’s the one you’ll find in several posts around the world with me and that rugged ol’ blue backpack! 

 3:45p- Magic happened! Call it a gift from the universe, perfect timing, coincidence, a blessing… Whatever you want to classify it as… It happened! After lunch a child’s party unloaded right next to us with none other than a bounce house! Our bride got her wish.

How else does a glamorous woman in a gown and tiara enter a bounce house? Only like my girl would… no shame and head first. Katie, you’re the best!


The walk back was a highlite for me as I got to carry “sis”.  This doll is Katie’s daughter that I’ve unofficially adopted into my future plans of travels. I even bought Ava her first passport as my gift at the baby shower. Diapers? Nah… We have priorities. 

Austin,  I’m so grateful that my amazing friend took that random drink of your beer and even more thankful that not only did you laugh, you welcomed her magnetic charm to capture you for a lifetime. Katie, thanks for allowing us to share this special day. You are both quality energy. Love always!


So here it is. I’ve never been married, but I love love…everything about it! I’ve done uncountable amount of wedding hair, attended a large portion of the ceremonies and cry at about every one whether I know them personally or not. I squeal when my friends get engaged and look forward to the joy found at the receptions. Will I ever be a bride? Who knows. All I know is that here in the now, today… I celebrate what is love and the people around me filled with it! Cheers to the open road, a pure heart and a free spirit.

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Kelly’s Kloset

Kelly’s Kloset is a personal shopping experience that allows you to browse international clothing and jewelry lines without the hassle of crowded fitting rooms or cluttered racks. I love this concept! To expose her newest line from Bali, she held a fashion show in which I was honored to be the hairstylist. The venue was located in St.James Barbados at The Cliff, an open air lounge with multi-level seating that over looks stunning turquoise waters. The ambiance is inviting with a colorful decor and unique design that leaves you with somewhat of an international feel. 
And for the view? Well, take a look!

What you can’t see from your table is all of us preparing for the show. Vibrant girls, beautiful women and my hands in an abundance of hair. Here’s a glimpse of behind the scenes. 

Once the show began, the crowd was properly entertained by a local DJ as they sipped their rosé and enjoyed the fresh west coast breeze.


 

This was such a success that she followed it up with another presentation a few weeks later. I was invited back for another round of curls and hairspray except this time, I was asked to be in the show as well. Say what!? Well, why not…. Right? A new experience outside my comfort zone to add to the list of “Never thought I’d be doing that!”. Bring it on.






Ladies, if you’re interested in any of the designs seen, please check out her page here and take a look around! There’s also good ol’ Instagram @ kellyskloset246.  Local girls, she has multiple locations on the island in which require a scheduled visit… It’s as easy as a phone call! 246-234-9039


 Kelly, thanks for the opportunity and experience working with you and your passion. It’s clear to me that you live a life full of light, color and joy… Looking forward to the next round! 

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