#islandlife Series: New Hair...New Gear

IMG_2680 IMG_2677 IMG_2663IMG_2687 (2) IMG_2654 IMG_2652 IMG_2645 IMG_2641 IMG_2638 IMG_2634 IMG_2632IMG_2690 IMG_2705 IMG_2702 IMG_2699 IMG_2697 IMG_2696 As soon as my father sees this post I know exactly what he's going to say. "So you couldn't pass a lil iron on that dress?" (Romper.)

So I spent all of the past year and a half taking gorgeous pics of cities around the world, but while I'm home for the next few months I wanted to turn the focus to the beauty of the island(s) where I'm from. This post is the first in a new series that I will be doing showcasing my experience over the next few months in Trinidad. I'm calling it the #islandlife Series.

It's so interesting to me how Chaguaramas has turned into a complete playground. I got reacquainted with the activities there when I went ziplining at ZipITT a couple of weekends ago, but there's all sorts of other fun things to do as well from bike riding to water jetpack-ing (???). I couldn't wait to come back and explore some of the places I've always driven by in passing, or haven't been to in a minute like the arresting Bamboo Cathedral, Samaan Park and creepy old St. Chad's Church. The best part of it for me was treading barefoot over fallen Immortelle blossoms (my company is named after the Immortelle tree, which you can see up there as well).

Of course, I'm an extremely anxious person, however, so a lot of the exploration consisted of me peeking down tracks hoping that no wild animals would come charging out the bush at me Puumba style.

Aaaanndddd I have new hair. I started experimenting with this hairstyle last month in a copper colour but now it's the perfect golden shade. It gives me a very monochromatic look so I like doing neutral makeup and starkly contrasting outfits like black or this white layered romper.

Photography: Kyle Walcott Photography. 

Romper: Tobi still available here. Shoes: Zara. Similar here. Clutch: American Apparel. Lots of colours hereRings: H&M, Nastygal. Gold Wire Ring: Red Fire Innovations by Rachel Rochford (LOCAL!). Chain Bracelets: H&MWraparound watch: Michael Kors. Similar here.

Nails: Solange Richardson. Nail Wraps: Melody Ehsani for NCLA in Masai.

Final Thoughts on Italy

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So after a picture perfect Spring Break road trip, I am in Paris now, and have closed the Italy chapter of this adventure (time is flying crazy fast isn't it!) When I look back at the type of posts I did in Florence I recognize that they were very different from the type of posts I did in China, less funny anecdotes about life in another country, more fashion and beauty items. But that's because (understandably) Italy was much more of a familiar environment, less discovery, and so less stories of the "mouse in the grocery store kitchen" ilk that I had in Shanghai.

However, that's not to say I didn't notice some things I found funny while I was in Italy, that I decided to share. In no specific order:

1. When you're in a fast fashion store in Florence, and your transaction is declined, the salesperson will tactfully yell, "NO MONEY!! NO MONEY!!" at the top of his voice to alert you...and everyone else in the store at the same time. I wish I could say this was a story that happened to someone else.

2. In preparation for the club, Italian men will watch several installments of the Step Up film series in order to prepare for their awkward break dancing and pop-locking, dance-off routines later that night. Or so it seems. I first observed this at an R&B and Hip-Hop night (entitled "Smooove") and was concerned that this is how Italians thought black people really behaved in the club. But then I went back to the same club on a non-themed night and breathed a sigh of relief cause that's just what they do.

3. Speaking of Italian men in clubs....the ratio of men to women at bars and clubs in Italy is like 70/30. Seriously. What's "stones party" in Italian?? I can kind of understand now why club promoters the world over let a dude in only if he's accompanied by 7 women, because that ratio feels weird unless its a gay club. And don't get excited about the prospect of being surrounded by large amounts of Italian men, ladies. I have seen more hot men in my week in Paris so far than I saw in all of Italy for three months, soooo, yeah. Don't believe everything you read. However, if your type is the pop-lockin', breakin' and battlin' kind....welcome to Nirvana.

4. It takes a week and a half to do your hair. Starting from the DIY relaxer at home; to the trip to Rome to get it cut by a snip-happy, Edward Scissorshands, self-styled hair "genius"; to the rewash, rewrap, restyle; to the mark at the African barber (Eddie thought that leaving my edges unfinished looked more "feminine")....it takes a week and a half to get done what I could get done in mere hours (okay, 8 to 10 hours if I'm begin honest) in Trinidad.

Anyway, my time in Paris already promises to be kixier as my area is a bit more ... colourful (on the day I arrived, a person was breaking up with his/her partner by pelting all his/her belongings out the window of his/her second floor apartment. Not just clothes. I heard shit crashing and breaking). Also, I have to take the Metro.

In the meantime, enjoy some pics from my last days in Florence, and look forward to the stories!

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In the Piazza San Spirito

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Clipped In

Most travelers prepare for their trips by planning itineraries, budgets, packing lists months in advance of their departure date. I pretty much figure that such things will work themselves out in time once I have a

ticket and a visa.

No for me, Vanity Smurf, the major concern that I need to address before I left was what on earth was I going to do with my HAIR while I spent a year in Shanghai, Florence and Paris. The question haunted me for months. Would I be able to maintain a weave in China? China is the hair capital of the world but do they know anything about installing all that hair they make and export? Would I even be able to get a relaxer? The pictures of the work of the one black hair salon I found online in China  didn't inspire me with confidence (hint: they used drugstore relaxer not professional brands).

Would I have to do my hair *gasp* myself??!!

I can confidently say that any DIY hair experiments I embark upon will be in equal parts hilarious and catastrophic. In my head I will be as adept at doing my own hair as my YouTube hair video idols. However, in reality, I will just be grateful to return with some hair still attached to my scalp.

I spent the better part of the last 2 years being a bit of a hair chameleon changing my hair every 6-8 weeks. In the hands of my genius hairdresser, Melissa, I've had funky short cuts, long mohawks and cascading weaves in shades from blonde to black. How would I deal with 3 months looking...the same?? So how would I satisfy my love for versatility and still have something that I could easily maintain considering I may not have a hair styling genius at my disposal?

Enter the clip ins. I ended up spending the majority of my last two days in Trinidad in my hairdresser's chair while she cut my hair into a highlighted bob and created for me a full head of made to order clip-in hair extensions that I could use for fancy occasions, or bad hair days. As she clipped in each track I began to wonder why anyone did sew-in weaves at all.

Clip-ins look way more natural because they attached as close to the scalp as possible, and blend with your hair. They don't cause that week-long tightness you get from your weave cane/cornrows. I used less hair which was easier on the pocket, and added to the natural-ness of the look, and talk about versatility! I could do a centre or side part, or use the clip ins on half my head and braid the front for a trendy boho style (see above. Do you see my knowing, "Girl you better get u some clipins" facial expression??). And the best part was I  can take them all out and start all over the next day in a completely different way! They can be washed off the head and therefore they last much longer than sewed in hair.

I am sold. Not saying that I won't still have my share of hilarious DIY hair nightmares (which I will of course post up here), but I feel a lot more confident knowing that my clip-ins are a safe backup plan.