Going to Carnival solo | Solo travel

Going to Carnival solo | Solo travel

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Update May 7, 2022: The STEP program. A follower asked me if I had any tips…

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Atlanta Carnival Events 2022

Atlanta Carnival Events 2022

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We are officially outside, and everyone has been hitting me in my DMs about the Atlanta…

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Carnival in Atlanta: What you need to know.

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Atlanta and Atlanta Dekalb carnival culminate the first of the more significant events in the United States.  These events will see many returning masqueraders, and I anticipate many first-time participants.  But just like every carnival, no one is like the other. In other words, there are some things you need to know about the area before coming out to Atlanta or Atlanta Dekalb Carnival, which will KEEP YOU SAFE, SANE, and OUT OF JAIL.

Altanta / Atlanta Dekalb Heat and Humidity.

Heat Injury Atlanta Carnival Road
(Downtown) Atlanta Carnival 2019. Managing symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Firstly, heat exhaustion on both roads is common.  Compared to my past experiences, Atlanta and Atlanta Dekalb carnival were the hottest (temperature-wise) and most humid I attended in the United States.  Simply put: if you are not prepared, you are susceptible to serious heat injury. And even if you are ready, the heat can still take you out.  In 2016, my sister almost passed out due to the heat.  Likewise, in 2019, I developed heat exhaustion. 

Alcohol consumption, lack of good sleep, shade, and poor hydration increase your risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.  Please keep this in mind when preparing for Atlanta or Atlanta Dekalb.

Long commutes for short distances.

If you have never been to the Atlanta area before, you should know that it can take 25 minutes or more to get just a few miles to anywhere.  There is no telling how long the Russia/Ukraine conflict will last.  In other words, high gas prices will affect the cost of travel in your personal vehicle or Uber.  If you are a masquerader who likes to leave very late for anything, you may want to reconsider.  You can anticipate a longer commute for the shortest routes to your fetes, costume distribution points, and even the road.  Keep this in mind as you coordinate with your crew.

Four-hour carnival parade routes.

If you expect your Atlanta or Atlanta Dekalb carnival road experience to mimic Miami, you are up for a major disappointment. Because of COVID, the cost of costumes in Atlanta is significantly higher than in previous years.  Considering this, a short parade route may leave you feeling slighted.

Both Atlanta and Atlanta Dekalb carnival routes have been on average four hours leading into a carnival village.  Atlanta Carnival’s course will be the same as previous years, but Atlanta Dekalb Carnival has a new route for 2022.  Anticipate this route will give you more than four hours to fete, but will not last anywhere near as long as Miami. To look at the parade routes for both events, click here.

DUI Less Safe Law.

Atlanta Dekalb DUI Law
DUI Less Safe Laws have the same penalties as DUI.

You can still be charged with a DUI by even blowing under the legal limit in the state of Georgia.  Likewise, a DUI (less-safe) has the same penalties as a regular DUI, and you can be charged with it by even blowing low as a .02. During the carnival weekend, there is a high police presence, looking for people to take people to jail under this law. I highly encourage the use of ride-share apps or selecting reliable designated drivers for your Atlanta or Atlanta Dekalb experience. You can read up on this law here.

In conclusion, coming to Atlanta for carnival is much fun, but there are some things you should keep safe.  I hope this information helps you, and please share it with anyone new to the area.

I can’t wait to see you on the road!

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Vaval Weekend Atlanta 2022

Vaval Weekend Atlanta 2022

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Vaval Weekend Miami 2021 was TRENDING, and it was not the event to miss.  The good…

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Houston Caribbean Festival | Houston Carnival

Houston Caribbean Festival | Houston Carnival

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In early 2021, outside was gradually starting to open up and I just KNEW that I…

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Skincare for carnival | Stay ready all year long.

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When we think about getting ready for carnival, people will generally think about toning up or losing some pounds.  But skin care is just as important!  The skin is the largest organ of our body, and skincare should be a proactive practice.  

Our skin can reflect how much stress we put on our bodies. Sun exposure, the elements, our nutrition and other habits definitely have an effect on its appearance. Carnival is no different. We stress our skin with sun exposure, alcohol, tanners and lack of sleep. 

Our skin not only functions as a protective barrier for our bodies, but also as a “canvas” for the makeup and body bronzers that we put on to look and feel our best when it’s time to get in our carnival costume and on the road.

One of the most common compliments I receive from makeup artists is that I have “good” skin.  While I suffer from melasma, my skin still remains bright, moisturized and smooth with healthy pores.  This allows makeup artists to apply makeup products smoothly, and promotes longer wear of your look. And long makeup wear is everything for carnival!  I am also told I look a lot younger than my true age.  While genetics has a lot to do with it, I know that my skincare routine has also been a help.

 I’m going to talk to you about my personal products and practices to keep my skin smooth, clear and bright all year long.

Note: The links provided may lead you to my amazon storefront where I earn a commission from your purchases. Thank you for your support!

My carnival-ready face routine.

makeup application trinidad carnival 2020
Makeup look for Carnival Monday, Trinidad 2020.
  1. While we use moisturizers on the face, I have to stress that hydration starts from within.  I currently drink almost a gallon of water daily.  During the periods that I slack on this practice, I notice dullness in my skin. 
  2. Since I hit my 30’s I have been very adamant on the use of sunscreen, and re-application as needed. My melasma is also triggered by sun and heat, so I do whatever I can.  I use a combination of chemical and mineral sunscreens. When I was outside in the desert in California, I stuck to mineral sunscreens (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide).  Mineral sunscreens provide the best protection, but can leave a brown girl looking rather ashy. For the most part, I did not care.  For day to day use, I enjoy wearing supergoop’s unseen sunscreen.  I mix it in with my moisturizer before I step out for the day.  I also keep an additional sunscreen in my car for those long days when I am out and about, or on long car drives. 

    It’s important to pay attention to the SPF of your sunscreen. There’s a complex explanation for how it works, but I’ll leave you with the recommendation of using SPF 15 for everyday use and SPF 30 for extended outdoor activity.

    I’m also that lady will wear a large hat to the beach or to the pool.  Sorry, not sorry.

 
black woman skincare
Image credit: shutterstock.

3. Cleanse: I’m not super die-hard about my cleanser to be honest with you.  While I prefer my skin care products to be without perfumes or dyes, I am working with the Purity made simple one-step facial cleanser. It doesn’t have any parabens and doesn’t strip my skin after washing.

4. Tone: I was a die-hard beauty water by son and park fan until Sephora stopped carrying it.  Then I went to the Dr. Jart+ Micellar water… and they stopped carrying that too.  And so, I’m currently working with the Drunk Elephant E-rase milki micellar water.  It picks up what my cleanser could not, is FABULOUS for carnival makeup removal, and is actually the most moisturizing micellar water I am used compared to the others. I think I will stick to this one (if I can).

 

Skincare doesn't stop there! Keep reading!

5. Essence? Yes. Now, there is a lot of controversy around essences.  It’s expected to help your skincare products penetrate deeper into the skin. From a medical opinion, I don’t agree with that, but love how bright my skin is after I use the Fresh Kombucha essence.  You place a few drops on your palms and “press” the essence into your skin.  I notice how brighter my skin is after use, but if I had to do without a product in my skincare routine, I would totally ditch the essence.

6. Serums. After essences, I apply serums that target my concerns.  For me? Its hyperpigmentation, hydration and dullness.  I mix the following serums (from The Ordinary) together, before applying to the face, neck and décolleté.

I apply these serums morning and night.

Under-eye gets love, too.

I LOVE the ordinary caffeine solution for my under eye.  I tend to have dark under-eyes regardless of how much sleep I get.  The caffeine solution makes a HUGE difference, and I can definitely tell when I haven’t been using it.

One great thing I love about the ordinary is it’s effective, but very budget friendly prices!

7. Oils and Suspensions. Depending on the climate or how my skin feels, I will add the ordinary 100% plant derived squalene for moisture and wait a few minutes before I apply my suspensions.  I try to let these products dry down a bit before I apply everything else, because if not, I find the products will start to “bead” up.

I follow with the ordinary Azelaic acid (twice a day) and the Vitamin C suspension in the evenings.

Retinols. The holy grail of skincare.

retinols skincare carnival

8. Retinol—the anti-aging holy grail. I personally have a prescription for Retinoid.  Retinoids accelerate skin cell turnover and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  My retin-A prescription does dry my face quite a bit, so I only use this 2-3 times per week.  Note that any use of retinoid or vitamin C suspensions will come with a strong recommendation for sunscreen.

9. Moisturize. I finish things off with the Ordinary Natural moisturizing factors + Hyaluronic Acid.  Once complete, my face feels refreshed and soft.  It’s very light weight.  I also moisturize the under-eye with Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Eye Concentrate.

10. Exfoliants. I tend to switch between chemical and physical exfoliants.  I use this when I feel like my face needs a little brightening.  I love to use tatcha’s rice polish foaming enzyme powder.  I will use this in lieu of my cleanser, as this functions as a 2-in-1.  

The Ordinary AHA/BHA exfoliating peeling solution is the holy grail of chemical exfoliants to me, but I can only use this once a month. If you are not regularly using retinoids, vitamin c and/or azelaic acid, you might use it more.  Talk about instant gratification? This stuff is BOMB.

These skincare tools keep me carnival ready.

I also use the Foreo Luna with the cleanser for light exfoliation.   I appreciate the Foreo Luna because it has an antimicrobial surface and you can go MONTHS without a charge.

The PMD microdermabrasion pen helps you skip expensive trips to the esthetician. It also helps combat fine lines, wrinkles and uneven texture.  But BEWARE—the disks spin at a very rapid rate, and if you do not use it properly, you will have abrasions on your face.

I use the Dermaflash ultrasonic pore extractor once a month with my facial steamer. The warm steam helps open up my pores.  The ultrasonic movements of the Dermapore extractor lift blackheads, and whatever “extra” is left in your pores, helping minimize pore appearance, I was surprised by this product.  Be sure to use on a wet face. The opposite side of the spatula helps infuse serums, but I personally don’t use that feature.

The pimple extraction kit came with my facial steamer, and I frankly use it more than my facial steamer.  Use of a pimple extraction tool definitely minimizes your risk of scarring from picking your pimples.  As always, make sure they are good and ripe before you give it a go, and make sure the pores are good and open when you use the tools. I use this tool as needed.

Skincare practices for my body.

skincare routine body carnival
Image credit: shutterstock
  1. I’ve been using the Earth Theraputics Exfoliating Hydro Towel for YEARS. It lasts several months before it starts to lose its abrasiveness and maintains my soft skin before I get to the next step in my routine.

2. I am not too big on what to wash your body with, but I love a good body scrub!  Talk about carnival glow?? My body wash and body scrub have been my go-to for four years. I use the scrub a few times a month, and I love the glow when I get out of the shower. I also save this for a special night out, or if I’m feeling a little extra.  During the day, I moisturize with the body shop butter before I head out to work.  The real body skin care happens for me at night.

3. After I finish my shower, I towel off and mix my Paula’s choice 2% BHA weightless body treatment with the retinol body smoothing treatment.  I suffered from keratosis pilaris (chicken skin) on my upper arms and the back of the legs, and it is now officially GONE.  

I even use it in my armpits and bikini line, and it has softened the appearance of the old razor bumps I got in my shaving days.  

My hands are the only thing currently revealing my true age, and make sure I apply to the hands at night, also as daytime wear suggests sunscreen.

The BHA and/or retinol treatment is not very moisturizing to me.  I prefer to wear the Eucerin Original Healing Cream at night.  It is VERY thick, and a little bit goes a long way.

Don't forget hair removal!

4. Waxing is also a great exfoliant.  I have been a faithful client of European Wax Center for almost four years.  I follow up my waxes with the “soothe me” serum for a few days after to prevent bumps with their “slow it” hair minimizer daily over the waxed areas. This is definitely a huge bonus when you have to maintain the bikini line for carnival all year long. 

Now is the time to start getting your skin carnival-ready! I hope the breakdown of my skincare routine encourages you to give some of these products a try! Feel free to let me know what you think! Are there any products in this blog that you currently use? Feel free to share your thoughts!

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Atlanta Dekalb Carnival

Atlanta Dekalb Carnival

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Every weekend of Memorial Day, the streets of Decatur are lit with the sounds of Soca…

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Costume Bands

Costume Bands

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Want to participate in a future carnival, but don’t know how to get a costume? This…

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Band Launches: Why you should attend.

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All about band launches!

You’ve decided to take the plunge and participate in Caribbean carnival for the first time. Congratulations! After you’ve figured out your budget, it’s time to check out a band launch and view some costumes with a potential mas band (or two, three, four…)

Band launches kick off the carnival season for the upcoming event.  Some carnival band associations will allow you to see all the Mas band costumes in one night, while some carnival Mas bands may opt to display their costumes on dates separate from other bands.  I highly encourage all masqueraders to attend band launches, if possible.  Of course, COVID-19 is still a thing, and it’s not possible to make every possible band launch.  I will talk to you about live and virtual launches, what to expect, and the pros and cons of each.

If you are coming to this website for the first time, check out my blog on how to start with carnival. 

Attending a live band launch.

Carnival Band Launch Photos of costumes
band launch photo for Guyana carnival 2018. Photo credit: Guyana Times.

Attending a band launch for carnival is a lot of fun, and I strongly recommend you attend if you can.  There is typically a fee to get into the band launch.  Food, drinks, and entertainment (music) are provided to get everyone excited to see the costumes.

I like to attend carnival band launches, because you can see the colors of the costume live and how it flows when worn.  Photos do not always do this justice, and many times Photoshop (color-grading) can alter the presentation of the costume.  This is a chance to see if the costume is realistic for wear.  Simply put: Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s meant to move in for several hours, and not all coochies are made the same (You will understand what I am talking about when you start viewing costumes).

Mas bands work hard on their presentation of costumes. The models spend hours practicing, and sometimes choreography may be involved, so chances are you are in for a great show.  

A live band launch will also give you an overall “vibe” of the band.  Does your energy match their energy?  Is this presentation something that you want to feel part of? Feel the energy of the loyal masqueraders in attendance (trust you will tell). Are you energetically gravitating toward this band and its masqueraders?

You can also attend a live carnival band launch virtually. Nowadays, many mas bands will have a live event that you can attend, and they will broadcast it over YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or even some television stations.  This is definitely a cost-effective way to view the band launch, especially if the event is happening out of state or out of the country.

Pros:  

  • You can visualize the movement of the costume.
  • You will appreciate the true colors of the costume.
  • You can determine if the costume is wearable for you.
  • You will feel the overall vibe of the band.

Cons:

  • You likely won’t see all options of a potential costume (high waist panty, boy short, full coverage).
  • In my experience, band launches hardly start on time.  This irks my military soul.  Prepare your mind to see the costumes at the last possible minute (near the end of the event).
  • You can’t attend ALL the live band launches, and you’re at a disadvantage waiting to see pictures before you decide to register (especially if the band is popular).  Sometimes bands will register at the event after the costumes are displayed. YES, I have seen costumes sold-out at a live band launch before it even goes on the website.  This is where pre-registration might be your friend.  For more information on pre-registration, click here.
Photo from band launch

Pre-recorded (virtual) band launches.

Mas bands have found a pre-recorded band launch to be more cost effective.  They won’t have to pay for a venue, the licenses to hold the events and serve alcohol, security, food, and all the other logistics that come with a live band launch.  But thanks to COVID and the need for social distancing, it makes more sense.  

The bands hire the necessary people to put together a production to display the costumes, and a videographer helps put it all together.  In most cases, these presentations are no longer than three minutes.  Below you will find my absolute favorite virtual launch from Mascots International for Miami Carnvival 2021.

Pros:  

  • You can watch the band launch from the comfort of your own home whenever you want.
  • You can see all the virtual pre-recorded launches at your fingertips.
  • You will view the models moving in the costume.
  • You can determine if the costume is wearable for you.

Cons:

  • There is a chance you won’t see all options of a potential costume (high waist panty, boy short, full coverage).
  • Bloopers and other difficulties are edited out.  If the model was having a hard time wearing the costume, you won’t know any of it.
  • Pre-recorded band launches won’t necessarily give you a genuine “vibe” of the band.
  • Mas band often forget to show the back of the costume.  This is why I prefer to attend a live event, because I can see the carnival costume in its entirety.  
Below is a virtual band launch release from We Kinda Ting.  This band launch is for Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival 2022.  For more information about Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival, click here.

I love band launch season! It gets me so excited for carnival.  I enjoy the process of viewing the costumes the mas bands have to offer and making my decision.  I hope this helps you appreciate the value of band launches.  If you choose to attend a live launch, have fun!

See you on the road,

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Caribbean Carnival: How to get started.

Caribbean Carnival: How to get started.

By Posted on 6min read72 views

So you want to participate in Caribbean carnival, but don’t know where to start? I got you. Read on.

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Trinidad Carnival 2022: Safe Zone Events

Trinidad Carnival 2022: Safe Zone Events

By Posted on 2min read58 views

After a lot of speculation and rumor, the Prime Minister announced Trinidad Carnival 2022 will be…

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