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Do you all live in straw huts on the beach?

Although we may sleep under them, we don’t live in palm trees or forts made of sticks in the sand. Yes there’s clean water, paved roads and even electricity! (To be said with a slightly sarcastic undertone). We have convenient grocery stores with cheap local items and an abundance of over priced imported goods. In fact, on this beautiful island you can find rum cheaper than water and fresh tropical fruit growing wild along the road side. 

While enjoying our stay in Barbados, I wanted to give you a glimpse of where Matt and I are calling home away from… well, I guess this is home for now! It’s located fairly central with just a quick drive to the popular south and beautiful west coast beaches. Our cozy home is 2 bedroom, 2 bath with an inviting backyard hosting the guest cottage. Although the last kittens were adorable while living in the home seen in a past post,  I’d say this is one of the most comfortable pet sitting jobs we’ve done! Please, take a look around!  Below is the dining (we never eat here) and lounge (we never sit here) portion of the house that realistically is just a common area we pass through to get from our room to the kitchen.

We spend most of our moments outside, however the main two spots that consume our indoor time are the bedroom to sleep and bathe and the kitchen to prepare food and coffee.

If for a moment we want to chill out and get lost in a documentary, we’ll kick back and relax in the additional room.

Now to our prime spot of entertainment. The backyard is where we read, write, grill, eat, talk, nap, stretch and start and end every single day. This photo was obviously shot during my morning tea time.

That cute little cottage house in the back is perfect for our guests. Private full bathroom, coffee maker, mini fridge, a few seating options and an extremely comfortable bed. No need for a “do not disturb” sign as the only knocking you’ll here is from the monkeys on the roof trying to snag a mango off the tree overhead!

Looking past the cottage you’ll see a few neighbors tucked away behind the radiating green that catches the eye from tree to tree.

What else have we used this beautiful back area for? A party of course! Our last visitor had a birthday so we through together a barbeque (literally, Matt turned center blocks and a flower pot into a grill) and invited some friends! A few balloons, another grill and amazing people… success!

What does a group of spontaneous creative individuals do when united? Apparently the mannequin challenge! This was my first time ever hearing of such thing, but hey, it worked!! Check out the video made by Cole Huffer from Enlightened Studios!

No children were drinking before, during or after this video was filmed.

Categories: Accommodations, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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Coast to coast and over seas

The trip back to the states included the usual 3 consisting of California, Oklahoma and Florida. In order to catch up quickly I’m going to post some of my favorite photos that Matt and I snagged per state. 

As you can imagine, Oklahoma didn’t necessarily provide the best of landscape shots, but Matt was able to capture some wildlife that can easily be overlooked.

You know these lovely ladies, my cousins Lacie and Lana have made random appearences like Hot with a 92% chance of muggyFamily and treats in Oklahoma and Till next time Oklahoma! Check out these comparisons from a few years ago to now.

Moving on to California! Before Matt met me here, I was honored to attend a dear friends wedding. Now when I say “dear friend”, I mean a woman that has shown me the true definition of unconditional love and support. It makes my heart full of joy to see her so happy. Congrats to Liz and Katie! Ps, best Rockabilly wedding ever and a special thanks to my perfect date, Crystal! (you’ve seen her in Jumbled shinaniguns in California and 32 candles on 32 peddles!) Wedding bells put away and Matt finally arriving, it was time to venture around! Of course we hit my hometown of Folsom, but the highlight was Truckee and Lake Tahoe! Here are some of my favorite pictures he took with the rest shown on his site www.stonesharpimagesphotography.comThe Heavenly ski resort provides a gondola ride for all of their participants as well as non skiers to enjoy the epic view of Lake Tahoe. Shall we? We shall!

The above photo is looking back at the Lake and below is what you’ll see as the slow, smooth moving Gondola glides to the top.

Finishing up my visit to the US, I found myslelf all smiles with good ol’ mom. Although it really has nothing to do with this post I feel the need to list a few of my favorite writings that include moments with her. So if you’ve got the time for random reads, I invite you to visit the pasts posts of our time in Cental America when mom was brave enough to venture abroad with me in Puerto de la Libertad and Wrapping up our time in El Salvador. Or maybe you’d be interested in good cry today? Embrace yourself for Not just a dolphin tour, it seems to be a tear jerker.

Getting back to this post, I mainly just wanted to hit the highlights of music, beaches and friends… the perfect combo!

After soaking up time with family, friends and new acquaintances I flew to South Florida to meet back up with Matt.

Intermission: Turns out I traveled straight through the tornados of Atlanta and was held in the airport for two days. Here’s what the terminals look like at 2am with severe weather outside. After 8 canceled flights, 38 hours of wandering the airport and being 130 on the standby list… I finally made it! Our next flight and final stop is home (for now) being the beautiful island of Barbados! 

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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!

Categories: Art, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grams

I’d like to start this post by acknowledging that it’s been awhile since my most recent active blogging. I don’t have a list of reasons as I believe when you want to make something happen badly enough, you make it happen. So no excuses here, just the simple fact of life changing turns that put other priorities in need of my attention. So after a short break and rejuvenation, I’m back to writing with some exciting new updates coming soon!

Today is the 3rd of April. 82 years ago a beautiful spirit was born and I’m honored to say she played a major roll in my life. I’ve written before of people who have passed on in this lifetime and their impact on me and the memories that followed their departure… but I’ve sat here for too long with an abundance of words that aren’t forming any proper sentences. I feel that nothing can truly express my interpretation of the amazing woman named Marth Sue Young (Jackson).

(Enter hours of staring at a blank screen here)

Still without a quality beginning, I figured I’d just start by admitting that words and photos simply can not translate the significance of this bright smiling, warm hearted, stubborn, hard working, gorgeous woman that loved unconditionally. We called her Grams. Beyond raising three daughters and my dad, Grams was a wife, sister, aunt, great aunt, grandmother, great grandma and even survived the birth of her 2 great-great grandchildren! She fostered the youth with mental disabilities, cooked for new moms and often brought meals to local families in distress. Even in her weaker days she’d guide me in the kitchen to bake for someone in need. She rarely complained of her own discomfort and usually kept focus on her family. She was capable of making you do something (with love) without you even knowing you were doing it. She hand pushed her own lawn mower until she was 80 years old (and don’t dare to try and take that from her unless you’re prepared to lose a finger). Hungry? Before you could even answer she’d have a hot meal at your chin with dessert waiting. My uncle J.E said Sue was the only woman he knew that could walk into the kitchen, throw flour into the air and come out with an award winning coconut cream pie. She had magical powers.

When I was young we used to sit together and watch the Price is Right after eating her famous pancakes that she had so creatively designed into recognizable designs. We’d flip through warn pages of the Sears “Maz-uh-geen” (apparently that’s how I used to pronounce “magazine”) while nibbling on Cheeze-Its. I’d ride buddy style on the back of her bike as we’d chase the ice cream man to get our favorite vanilla cones. Many more precious years allowed for several cooking lessons, summer vacations, late night frozen yogurts and countless hours of putting together puzzles. Priceless memories to say the least.

When I loaded up to start backpacking over 5 years ago, she kept her spare room ready for my return and the kitchen stocked with my favorites. I’d bring back international treats that we’d giggle in question if it was edible or not. I’d show her bizarre photos from abroad and eagerly answer her intriguing questions that often led to stories of my travels. 

If you’ve been following this blog, chances are you’ve read several posts written directly from her front room. Here’s one of the last photos I captured as I wrote in my usual spot with the view of our typical silly socks.

This is where I feel a heart felt message would be appropriate about how she’s gone but her spirit still lives or maybe a few quotes about how she’ll never be forgotten… but I must admit again, words don’t even scrape the surface of her everlasting presence. I’m confident to speak for other family members and dear friends when I say that Sue Jackson Young is and always will be unforgettable.

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We can’t spend our lives waiting to live

I’d like to highlight a thought that I woke up with this morning. It’s lyrics from a song that were brought to my attention by a friend and her beautifully bold tattoo.

“We can’t spend our lives waiting to live”.  Rise Against

I feel so often we give excuses for why our greatest wishes are unreachable. Possibly even complaining about the current journey that’s getting us from an idea to a glorious reality. You hear comments like “I wish I could (fill in the blank) but I can’t because (fill in the blank)” or “I’m waiting until (fill in the blank) before I….”. You get the picture.

On a smaller scale, what about that dress or suit you bought and saved all year just to wear on your birthday out of town.  You had it hanging in your room, underneath a glowing light while counting down the number of days till you could show it off  (maybe not that extreme, but roll with me here).  You pack it up so nice and tidy and head to the airport. You, your friends and your excitement all arrive safely to the party-city except the bag. The airlines lost it. All that time with this amazing outfit to be shared and you (with no gaurentee of the future) waited and now… now it’s gone. 

If you truly have far future goals like writing a book, getting fit, a solid retirement, big house, travel, etc. then own it! Go for it, but enjoy the ride. However if you’re working to the bone, putting in long hours, missing family & friends, dreading Monday through Friday (which is over 70% of your life!) and doing all these things in misery with hopes that it might pay off “someday”, I suggest you reconsider your intentions.

I understand each situation has its own elements and I have no place to judge that, but for the most part… I just want to bring light to the idea that we are generally the ones that allow the limitations. How exhausting to constantly defend the “I’m stuck” routine. I’m still learning that we have created (either consciously and/or involuntarily) the numerous amounts of boundaries holding us back from enjoying today and I’ll give you one guess to whom can remove those restrictions. Times up… You know who.

I invite you to start peeling back even just one layer of self-inflicted obstruction that is limiting your grand potential. Ignite a flame that has never been lit or refuel a fire that was once raging with passion!

You shouldn’t spend your whole life waiting to live.

For a breath of fresh air or effortless smile, take a snoop at the Happy Thoughts page or Quotes. Sometimes it’s helpful to be reminded of ideas that we already know. 

Categories: Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

You’re never to old to play upside down!

On my first return to Barbados back in 2012 my friend Ryan introduced me to Shane De Freitas and the local adult gymnastics class. For the full flash back of those days see the post called Calories… love to consume them, love to burn them! Year after year I’d return to the family of gymnasts (who probably laughed at the fact that I just referred to us as “gymnasts”) for more fun and fitness. Last year we caught several action shots seen in A flippin good time. Thank you Mark Harris for the photo session! 

And now it’s 2017 and we play again! Photo credit to Matt Stone @ http://www.StoneSharpImagesPhotography.com

At any point in time during the session, there’s a large chance you’ll find our irreplaceable Andy perched on top of the mushroom (aka- meditating, relaxing, shrooming, cheating, sleeping, sitting or chilling).

Clearly we have no fun at all.

To wrap up another amazing day full of flips, twist, jumps, splits and laughs, we nailed a group photo on the first take (after a 20 minute discussion on where and how we’d do it).

Coach Shane, I hope you fully grasp the gratitude we all share for your willingness to coach our almost uncoachable personalites and laugh along with it. Beyond the smarty comments and occasional groaning (no names mentioned) we actually enjoy the quality conditioning that we claim to be torture. I’m confident to speak for the class that your absence leaves our Tuesday and Thursday evenings feeling a bit incomplete and rather… well, normal. We’re looking forward to your return while sending you all the luck and love you deserve! 

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You may be becoming a local Barbadian if…

  • You naturally read the title of this post as “yuh know ya iz a Bajan if”.
  • You run on casual island time… until you’re in your car. 
  • “Cheese on bread” no longer refers to an edible snack commonly requested by European children. It is now an expressive phrase appropriately placed in certain situations. (If you want a good laugh, check out the blog Cheese on Bread, they did such a great job with describing Ya know ya is is A Bajan when).
  • You involuntary stuepse (a sound made by sucking of the teeth) a person, situation or random action. It just comes out of nowhere! This should of been included in the post 5 not-so well known facts of Barbados.
  • You head to the beach in the pouring rain knowing it’ll be blue skies by the time you get there. Unless you’re a true local that’s afraid of water. Then you’re not going anywhere near the sea or out in the rain! “Bajans run to fire and away from water”.

And the most current realization that Iz-uh (an adopted) Bajan… Christmas takes second place to Boxing Day celebrations. All of a sudden Decemebr 25th feels like Christmas Eve to what’s ahead on the 26th!  

Boxing Day.

If you have boat, bring it. If you don’t arrive by water, bring some sort of creative floatation device. If you’ve left your raft at home, bring a blanket or a towel. If all else fails, just show up! It’s a cooler party which means you provide your own snacks and drinks as there’s none provided for purchase. To get the history and witness last years shenanigans, check out  Boxing Day, no gloves needed.

This year was yet another successful bundles of memories made at Reeds Bay Barbados. Big boats, rafts, jet skies, barge cruises, tents, umbrellas, the list goes on! Instead of my typical photo gallery, I’m going to post a video put together by Matt Stone. You’ve seen some of his work at Stone Sharp Images!

A special thanks to Brendon McKenzie (and probably a dozen others) for the organization and promotion of this event! 

Wishing you all a bright new year of beautiful adventures and love within!

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Handstanding to donate!

It’s that time of year again! I did a handstand with the intention of having you to take a shot for how long I held it. The person with the closest guess will then choose where herhappytrails donates this years $50 cash! 

Last year was 33 seconds and a split win! A special thanks to my buddy Cruz Gaskins who donated right back to herhappytrails (sneaky gift that was) and to Jessica Rendon for choosing the Rainforest Affiliation! 

Click here to watch the handstand from 2015

The year prior was 41 seconds and the charity that Mark Philipps decided on was Make a Wish Foundation!

Click here to watch the handstand from 2014

After 5 years and hundreds of handstands I still love to be upspide down, preferably in a place that I don’t speak the language and where several locals question my mental stability. Until that next brilliant opportunity, here’s a few examples of the toe points seen in the Handstanding around the world page.

Not that it will help your guess in any way, shape or form…. but below is a cute little collage of the first two years with the current handstand on the right. Good luck!

Now you ask, “But Erika, how do we ever join in this glorious fun?!” 

Easy as 1,2,3:

1. Make a guess.

2. Apply it in the comments below, email it to herhappytrails@yahoo.com or on Facebook.

3. Wait for the reveal! (On Dec 31st)

Much gratitude for taking the energy to read, contribute and continue spreading the joy of giving!
Many cheers and one love,
Erika Mae Young
RESULTS 18 seconds!  This year I had a little fun with the shot and went with a shorter time and more entertainment! Thanks for all the votes and major vote and the winner is sweet Erin Sanders! Her charity of choice will be announced soon. ​

Categories: Fitness, Polls, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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