Tuesday, July 16, 2013

ICT Innovations In Mas (I3M) Project

For the last few weeks, I have been attending training as part of the I3M project. 

What is the I3M Project?

The proposed project seeks to contribute strengthening and promoting economic growth in the micro; small and medium size businesses in the Masquerade sector. To facilitate increased economic participation of MSMEs in the masquerade sector in the global business of Carnival, the project will equip these enterprises with skills and capacity as well as access to ICT solutions including a web-based platform, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival HUB as a mechanism for improving and expanding business processes, business models and market reach and strengthening competitiveness.
You can read more about it HERE.

The training is held at the TTSCI's offices and so far it has been really informative. The first part of training was conducted by NEDCO and covering: Inventory Management, Financial Management, Writing a Business Plan.

The second part of the training was conducted by exporTT, and this covered: Fundamentals of Exporting, Formulating an Export Plan, Market Access-Exploring your International Opportunities and we are ending this month's training with Value Chain and Quality Standards for the Masquerade Industry.

Some of the best sessions have been those where the trainer catered the session to specifically address the needs of the masquerade industry and not just the generic by the book information.

To my surprise, Boots by Afro Chic was even featured in one of the presenter's sessions as an example of promoting your business on social media!

I'm really looking forward to the last session, and implementing some of what I've learned over the last two months.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Kicking Cancer's Ass!

"I cannot do the biopsy, there is nothing there"
Those were the words of my son's surgeon when he went in last week to get a sample to biopsy of the 'mass' that they had seen on his PET scan. 

The only thing I did not do was a backflip and shout WOOT! WOOT! in the waiting room of the operating theatre.

My son had a very invasive surgery done called a thoracotomy to come to this conclusion, but he is now at home recovering. 

He has a 10 year follow up programme. For the first year when re-occurrence is highest, he has to go to this oncologist every month and do a CT scan every 6 months. In the second year, he has to go every other month, third year every three months and so on. So he will be a man of 22 when his follow up is completed.

Needless to say our family is extremely happy, and can;t wait to have him back to 100%!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Writer's Block

It has been WAY too long since last I penned an update. And as I check my blogging stats in my dashboard I am shocked to see that I have a total of 7 posts in drafts, waiting to be completed and published. And every so often I bouncing up someone who asking me "What appen to your blog?" *sigh*

I can't say I've been busy with my son and his cancer, even though I kinda have been. 
I can't say I've been busy since I resumed my classes at COSTAATT, but I kinda have been.
I can't say I've been busy at work self, that would definitely not be true.

And is not that things not happening with me, real things going on. Is school, is hospital, is PTA,  is triathlon...all kinda thing! I just have not felt like writing. Plain and simple. Plus it so easy to just snap a pic now and upload it instead of the sitting down to blog. 

Look it's band launch time again and I now realise I eh even post my reviews from last year self! SMH.

While I missed most of the band launches last year for personal reasons, this year I hope not miss any, and will definitely be putting in my two cents of the costumes and options for Carnival 2014!

Anyhoo, hopefully this post is a sign I'm over the lil writer's block and will be blogging more frequently for the rest of this year.

Carnival Tuesday with K2K - The Aftermath

So in my last post I left the band early on Monday as I had a couple things to finish up on Carnival Monday. Two of those things included blinging out my drinks cup and re-fashioning my jeweled tam that I wasn't wearing, into a bag to hold my stuff. Turned out pretty well I thought.

The band looked even more FAB on Tuesday. From the women to the men everyone looked great.

On Tuesday we met the band for 7:00am and moved off within the hour making our way to the first judging point at Adam Smith Square. As we approached Adam Smith, we slowed down and eventually came to a stop while our individuals we fitted with their wings, I must say our individuals looked GORGEOUS!! I felt the slightest twinge of envy as I wanted to do an individual with K2K this year, but circumstances were not in my favour. 

After the holdup, we continued to the judging point and this is where things became a bit confusing. It was just before the judging point that our bandleaders, Karen and Kathy, were telling us the way in which they wanted us to cross the stage (we did not cross section by section). I think this should have been communicated beforehand, maybe when we collected out costumes a nice lil diagram or explanation would have helped maqueraders. We crossed this way at 3 of the judging points and honestly I think this is what may have lost us points (which is why we didn't place first in the medium band category...either that or they just damn tief!), but who knows? Anyhoo...

After we hit Adam Smith we then steadily made our way to Victoria and Independence Square. Everywhere we walked we were constantly stopped and asked what band this was. If this was Mac Farlane (scoff), I was even asked if Minshall came back (double scoff).

After we crossed Independence Square I took the opportunity to have lunch in the maxi and the band went to the Piccadilly judging point. It was here when we started to slow down as we headed to the Savannah stage.

I took the opportunity (as I usually do) to walk to the Savannah to meet my sons who were waiting to see me after we crossed the stage. After I met them and posed for more pics and answered people's questions "What band is this?" "Where is K2K?" I eventually said goodbye to my sons and headed into the Savannah to wait for the band to cross the stage.

Some 5 hours or so later...around 8 or 9pm I think, we FINALLY made it to the stage! Even though we had waited for hours upon hours, there is nothing to beat that crossing the stage feeling. NOTHING!

When I eventually made it home I was so tired I just unzipped my dress and flung it on the floor where it stayed til the next morning.

Overall I think the band improved by leaps and bounds this year.

I had no problem at all with getting drinks at the bar. From the time the bartender saw my bling cup he knew my drink of choice.

The food we received was plentiful and tasty. On Tuesday we had the option of chinese or pizza. I think I would still have preferred a lunch stop, to the walking and eating, but I was fine with eating on the buses.

I LOVED the cool down maxis. I think there should be more honestly, LOL. Taking a rest on the ac in the maxis were lovely. I had to adjust my costume at some point and was able to use the maxis to do that.

For the first time in my Carnival life, I used a wee wee truck on the road! The wee wee trucks were kept very clean. Tackling the bathrooms was a bit tricky because of the length of the dress and the unsnapping of the undergarments etc. but was able to use them and keep my costume intact. LOL.

Other than the hiccup with the truck license on Monday, and the intolerable unavoidable wait at the Savannah, I think the road management this year was WAY better than last year, when there was little to no management at all. 

I would give K2K an 8 out of 10 for my overall experience, and I can't wait to see their presentation for 2014!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Carnival Monday with K2K - The Aftermath

Hmmm..is so long I eh do a blog post...it feeling weird...where to start, where to start? Well lemme start by wishing everybody a Happy Carnival! Hope it was a safe and enjoyable one.

Right. So despite their problems in their first year, I choose once again to play mas with K2K Alliance and Partners. There is no need to say how gorgeous the costumes were, that is understood.

Costume Selection and Registration
When I saw the costumes at the launch, I immediately picked my section. The pink section (Skeptic). Upon further examination at the mas camp and photos, I then decided no, I playing in the black and white section (Knowledge). And what happens when you take too long to decided on your section? Well naturally other sections catch your eye and then I said, nah, I playing in the green section (Conformist).

With 2 weeks or so to go before Carnival I finally made it to the mascamp to pick my section. By this time I had finally decided on the red section, Victory. When I got there I told Mrs. Norman that I wanted to register for the red section to which she said that unfortunately they had no pieces for me to try on in that section yet, but I could try on the other sections.

Excuse me?
You mean like BEFORE I get it? 
You heard right. Persons were allowed to try on the costumes they were interested in before they registered for it!

I tried on Skeptic, FanFare, Dreamer and Challenger.
From the time I tried on Dreamer, that was it! Love at first wear! Plus it was my favourite colour too. After trying on, I went and signed up and paid my downpayment. Past masqueraders also received a $300 discount. The entire process including trying on of the costumes took about an hour.

Costume Collection
I collected my costume on Carnival Thursday and was in and out of the mas camp in 20 minutes. My costume was even more gorgeous than I remembered, and it was exactly, if not better than the prototype. I was very happy with the complimentary goody bag that we received.

Carnival Monday
The band was scheduled to meet at 10:00 am on Monday. We got to the meeting point just about that time and the persons waiting looked beautiful in their tailored jackets.

We did not moved off until about half 11 though as there was an issue with the bar truck not having the right permit, and the Transport commissioner was not allowing the truck to move off until it was sorted out. The issue was eventually resolved and the band moved off.

It was smooth sailing on Monday and we hit all the judging points, Adam Smith Square, Victoria Square, Independence Square and the Queen's Park Savannah stage. We also crossed both the Coca-Cola and Synergy mini stages on Ariapita Avenue. 

We had no official lunch stop on Monday and ate on the road as we headed to Independence Square. Apparently trucks cannot be taken off the road without jeopardising their position in the route (I think R.E.A.C.T has to get involved or something so, if this happens), so our music trucks went ahead while the drinks truck and food van stopped. This almost made us miss crossing the stage downtown, but thankfully most of the masqueraders made it back to the band as our music trucks reached the stage.

While the band made its way to the Savannah, I choose instead to head home with my mom and aunt, as my aunt wasn't feeling well at the time. And I don't ever mind finishing off my day early on Monday as the day on Tuesday is longer. Plus I almost always have things to do with my costume. This year that included doing my boots, bag and adjusting the length of my dress so it wouldn't drag on the ground.

Monday ended well and I was left looking forward to Tuesday.