Up until 2 days before carnival I planned to wear my adorable red fringe boots on carnival Monday and Tuesday. Although I was sure I had broken the books in, I decided to do a test and wear the boots on one of my long, nonstop days. About 3 hours in my toes started hurting and I knew I had to come up with a Plan B.
Fringe vs No Fringe
Not having the time, energy, or materials to make an ALL IN design, I went through my left over materials basket and pulled out a few things to jazz up my red slouch boots.
First I put a pearl trim over the front seams of the boots and then added left over yellow and orange feathers from the backpack I made.
The result was cute, but I felt it needed a tad bit more bling so I added some silver trim to the back seam of the boot and added left over bling on a roll to the top. *side note* I used tacky glue to glue the bling instead of hot glue so it wouldn’t weight down the boots and make them sag.
I was tempted to add more unnecessary stuff, but decided to stop there. Quick and easy boots to go with my Tribe/Caesar’s Army: Venus Fly Trap costume
My compadre Lingy aka Lingywashere and I were asked to help design costumes for a new Atlanta Carnival band called Blue Smoke Mas. They are a small band that want to offer a more affordable carnival experience to those that want to play mas, but don’t want to spend $300 – $400+.
Oh how I would love to be able to design some $800+ costumes, but I had a good time designing these. They were pretty simple designs, like I said we were aiming to keep costs low. If you follow my carnival tutorials then you’ve seen how I make the collars and leg pieces… and just like the leg piece, the belt design came from an unlikely place…
Here are a few stolen moments of us in the lab, enjoying some chunes and Jesus Juice. What can I say, even when I’m working I like to have a GOOD TIME!
If you dig the costumes & price and want to join us on the road for Atlanta Carnival you can Register Here: Blue Smoke Mas
PS: We are still parading in Decatur with the rest of the awesome Decatur bands, you can find more information about the road march route on http://atlantacarnivalbc.com
I know I’m late as sh*t with this post, I would say, “I’ve been REALLY busy, yada yada yada” but I would be lying. I have no excuse other than being a lazy mofo. Any who, if you read my “How to doTrinidad Carnival on a Budget” blog, I utilized a few of those methods this go round. Flight secured for free using American Airline miles. Hotels secured using a couple travel hacking methods. I stayed at 2 hotels and was on 4 different reservations, but only paid $639 total. The first 2 nights were at the Radisson, everything I read about that hotel is true… The rooms are kinda run down and smell like there is mold lurking in the corners & vents, but the staff were nice and the pool is pretty. We spent almost no time in the hotel and the stay was 100% free so I can’t really complain… I didn’t die.
Radisson showing their carnival spirit with the WIFI password
We landed early Thursday afternoon, had debated going straight to Beach House or C’est La Vie upon arrival, but decided to just lime on di ave. Had dinner at the KFC that the infamous Uncle Ellis dances in front of, but sadly he wasn’t there. If you aren’t familiar with Uncle Ellis, just search #UncleEllis and enjoy the show! The homie Rocky came thru after work and we headed to di Ave. We happened upon the carnival individual costumes judging on a small portion of di Ave and that was pure awesomeness, grabbed some drinks & watched that for about an hour then we headed back to the bar!!!
Crazy thing, I expected everyone to be at some fete, but one by one we just started seeing random friends strolling down di Ave and it turned into a big reunion. I got tore up from the floor up and I think I spent about $3. FIRST OF ALL (you know when a girl says this to you she is about to SCHOOL YOU) ok FIRST OF ALL the drinks are dirt cheap on Di Ave. SECOND of all, everyone is feeling so good about life, they want to buy your dirt cheap drinks for you, so after having several rounds of dirt cheap drinks you find that you have NO bar tab. Stayed on di Ave until around 12am then we took our drunk tired asses to bed.
Friday around 10am we headed to the Bright Colours boat ride. It’s a cooler fete that only cost $35. Another method discussed in my budget blog, do a few cheap cooler fetes. If you look at my carnival video you see that no fun was lost by skipping an all-inclusive and saving $100. A lot of familiar faces were in the place and we had a dayym good time cruising around Port of Spain.
When we left the boat ride we had to go pick up our packages for Dirty Dozen J’ouvert, Ambush, and our Tribe costumes. Not a good look cause we were highly intoxicated. One thing I miss about switching over from Bliss to Tribe, the pick-up process is a lot more chaotic. Even though Bright Colours ended at 2pm, after all the running around we didn’t make it back to our hotel until around 9pm. We were exhausted and went straight to sleep to rest up for Ambush at 2am.
Ambush was the usual madness of paint, powder, and water. That fete never disappoints I tell ya. As I look at my photos of Ambush 2011 I think, “My my my how the crowd size has grown.” It was a pretty spacious event back then, but now it is a complete sea of people. Still a dayym good time none the less. Crazy thing, I rode there with the homies Rocky, Jermaine, and Paco and lost everyone almost immediately. Wearing something that lights up is a must at J’ouvert, that’s the only way Paco and I find each other. I never did see Jermaine & Rocky again, if I didn’t ride with them I wouldn’t believe they were there. But that’s just how crazy AMBUSH is, you can fete your life away and never see the people you drove there with. The new Soca Monarch “Voice” was there and blessed us with his jam Cheers to Life. That song just speaks to your heart so that induced crowd pandemonium. *Tun Up* There were no injuries so kudos to us for surviving Ambush like some mutha *BEEPn* champs.
Around 9am we left AMBUSH and headed back to the hotel to wash up, take a 9 ½ second nap, check out and then relocate. Around 2pm to headed to Soca Brainwash another weekend favorite. As with the Miami brainwash, that is fete that you are going to see the most familiar faces. Private Ryan did not disappoint, plenty plenty food and drink choices. They even had a champagne station that I sadly never made it too, I loves me some champagne. Kes touched the stage and gave an impromptu mini concert which was frekkin AWESOME!! We stayed there till the fete extended end time of around 6pm and then we took our drunk, tired azzes home.
No Saturday night fete for us, we went to bed like good little girls and boys. I lie, we couldn’t sleep, but we did lay down to stockpile energy for Shades Breakfast fete at 5am. We’ve done Shades every year since 2011, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I hear good things about the other breakfast fetes, but I really enjoy Shades so every year I’m cool with going back. Shades is located at picturesque estate surrounded by mountains, watching the sun rise over the mountains is quite captivating. They expanded the food stations and added more liquor options this year, they even had a puncheon lolli station… Nothing better than getting drunk off ice-cream *whoop whoop* Shades always has some great artists perform and this year it was none other than the Soca Monarch 2nd place winner Preedy, I loves me some Preedy. Drue was walking in when we left around 11am so he probably touched di stage too.
Preedy = Veteran / Panama = Veteran
After that it was off to the Hilton to relax and stockpile more energy. I would have liked to chillax by the pool, but they had a dayym fete going on so I chillaxed on the patio drinking cheap champagne, blasting chunes from the Bose, and enjoying the beautiful mountains (the mountains of the Caribbean set my heart on fire).
We walked down to the Savannah for dinner and came upon my favorite countdown clock. That definitely turns the excitement level up knowing you are only HOURS away from “the Greatest Show on Earth”. We had contemplated watching the super bowl that night, but fell asleep about 30 min after it started. No worries cause the next morning it was time for THE BIG SHOW.
Yes it was time for J’ouvert Morning, we headed to Dirty Dozen mas camp around 3am to get DUTTY!!! Linked up with several of the homies and proceeded to be on our worst behavior. We climbed a wall (cause that is a must at J’ouvert) and I looked over the endless number people I could see this was another fete that has seriously grown in size since we started doing it. Most of J’ouvert is a blur, you drink drink drink, dance dance dance, walk walk walk, climb climb climb, and get DUTTY (which has multiple meanings in this instance 1) Get dirty & 2) Get on bad). We never make it to the end of jouvert where they head back to mas camp and have a wet fete, we always have to get our lives together for Monday Mas.
Am I shrinking or is DJ Private Ryan getting taller every year?
We headed back to the Hilton to powernap, switch rooms cause we were on a different reservation lololol this time we lucked up and got the Presidential Suite and proceeded to JACK THAT ROOM UP. You would have thought there was more than just me and Paco in that room. Linked up with Tribe at lunch and partied with them till end time of around 6pm. We missed the stage Monday L. We were in bed by 8pm like good little carnivalians.
Rep’n my Panamanian art: Kuna Molas sewn on the bathing suit, Kuna earrings, and tembleque beaded flowers in my hair
Rhadi aka the Carnival Doc
Funny thing about this pic is I didn’t think I saw this young man the entire trip, then I see a pic of him in my camera *ALCOHOL*
Woke up around 6amTuesday well rested, so I have NO EXCUSE for what I am about to tell you. Tuesday mas starts at like 7:30am, but we didn’t make it out of the hotel until 11am for no reason other than I just didn’t feel like touching di road.
Should be on the road, but I’m in my room taking selfies
It took us forever to find Tribe, but we did come across Bliss and chilled with the homie Rocky for a while. How funny that when we were with Bliss 2014 we found Tribe first and just spent the day when them, why do you always come across EVERY truck accept your own?
We ended up finding Tribe just after they finished crossing the stage and were heading to lunch. Lunch is like 2HR process, so f*ck it, we headed back to the hotel to chillax in the A/C so we could go strong all nite. We ran into the homie Michelle Renee & she opted to head back to the hotel to freshen up as well.
Spending Carnival Tuesday in the hotel, dayym shame
Headed back out around 5pm, but it took us about an hour to find Tribe, we ate and ran into some homies on di Ave. When we finally did find Tribe, the sun was going down and we headed straight for the liquor truck and went HARD IN THE PAINT. Drank drank drank, the 1st bar truck apparently ran outta run and gave us Johnny Walker like we wouldn’t be able to taste the difference *SMH* I drank dat yucky ish on the way to bar truck #2 for rum. Made it to last lap around 8:30pm, Last Lap is a party that Tribe has for their 3 bands so the masqueraders can keep partyn after the road march ends. They usually have beer in last lap, but this year there was only water *YUCK* I went out of the gate and snuck on a Bliss VIP truck parked outside, the guy there gave me a bottle of Patron (Tequila is the devil) *YUCK* I drank the h*ll outta that ish. Johnny Walker & Patron = Wacked out outta my mind!!! I was a hot azz mess at Last Lap, as I look at the video of myself I’m surprised I didn’t accidentally kill anyone with my flag that I was waiving like a maniac. We partied till 10pm then took out drunk azzes home cause we had a flight to catch in the AM. By the way, we didn’t cross the stage Tuesday either. Quite disappointed in myself, but I just wasn’t motivated this year.
I believe Kevin was giving me a, “Get your life together” intervention
Thank goodness his drunk azz didn’t fall
Woke up bright and early to pack our sh*t cause we were on yet another reservation and had to move to a regular room. Yeah switching locations so many times was a pain in the azz, but there is nothing that brings greater joy than saving $$$. Headed to the airport around 9am and hop’d a quick flight for Tobago for the last fete of the trip, Candy Coated Wine Down. This being our last fete we knew we had to go HARD!!! Another link up of many friends and we danced & drank out lives away in the water. This go round we got performances from Voice, Preedy, and maybe Skinny Fab (the rum clouds my memory). Of course Voice performing induced another onset of crowd pandemonium. I was proud of me and Paco for having no incidents all week, but I congratulated us too soon. Paco lost himself at the fete, but after I had given up hope of finding him I saw him asleep at the Tobago airport like some kinda vagabond.
Headed home early Thursday and I lied when I said Wednesday was the last fete. The young lady seated next to me on the plane and I proceeded to have a breakfast fete as we relived our best carnival memories and discussed our carnival future. Carnival unites strangers, I’ve made so many friends because of our mutual love of carnival.
I’m taking Trinidad 2017 off, heading home to Panama for carnival. As I looked at the Throwback Thursday pic below of me at Trinidad carnival 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, & 2016 I realize I could purchase a 2016 Mustang cash with that carnival $$$, instead of cruising around in my 2011 Mustang with the scratched up bumper (still love her tho). Already got my suite at the Hard Rock Panama booked cause you can BALL OUT when you aren’t paying $500/night for a room. I’ll be back 2018 tho, gotta stockpile those airline miles and hotel points.
I leave you with some “party done” moments that I’m sure I’ll get cussed for.