Feathers & Beaded Bikinis

For those of you who don’t know me personally, a fun fact is that I grew up in Barbados! My granny’s side of the family is from here so my mum and I moved down from the states and stayed here for 12 years. Don’t feel weird, I know a lot of people don’t know where Barbados is (it’s pretty small), so here’s a map:

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As you can see, it’s a tiny (only 166 sq. mi.) island that sticks out to the right wayyy down near South America. If you have heard of Barbados before it might be because it’s where Rhianna is from! I could go on and on about all the amazing places to see and things to do here but that will need to be another post because today I want to tell you about Crop Over.

What is Crop Over?
Crop Over started back in the 1700’s when it was a celebration of the end of the sugar cane season – literally the crops are over. The festival died out a little and then in the late 1900’s it started to get popular again. Crop Over lasts for about two months with parties almost every night and ends with Kadooment (the biggest party of the season) on the first Monday in August. It basically consists of a lot of drinking and a lot of dancing!

Wondering what kind of music we dance to? Here’s a good playlist to listen to. Some of my favourites are: Money Well SpentTek Off Something, and Good Morning

I had seen my family and babysitters doing Crop Over my whole life but my first year jumping (thats what you call it when you’re participating in the event) was in 2007 and then I was hooked. The costumes are usually some form of feathers and beaded bikinis – for the women – and the fancier the costume, the more feathers and beads you will have or the skimpier it gets haha it can go either way. There are different bands (groups) that you can purchase your costume from and there are different colours and versions of each costume within each band. It can get pretty pricey depending on which section of the band you want to be in. Whichever band you purchase your costume from will be the band you stay with for the day, so make sure you’re in the same band as your friends!

Here are some pictures of me (and my friends) doing Crop Over from 2007 to now!

Since Rhianna is from here she obviously participates in Crop Over festivities but unfortunately she wasn’t able to make it this year. Some other notable celebrities who came for the event were Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 Champion and Chanel Iman, Victoria’s Secret Model. Just go on Facebook/Instagram and check out some hashtags with their names right now!

This even keeps growing and every year I say it’ll be my last year and then every year I have so much fun that I start planning for the next year. So mark your calendar for the first Monday in August (the 7th) 2017 and start saving up your money now!

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10 Tips to Traveling

I’ve been traveling a LOT this year, definitely more than usual (this is mostly because I have the free time now that I work from home so I’m taking advantage of that “work from anywhere” luxury!) Since April I’ve traveled to Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia (duh – that’s home base) and now I’m in Barbados! I’ve always loved exploring the world, seeing new places, and experiencing other cultures BUT there’s one thing I hate, despise, LOATHE (can you tell I don’t like this…) about traveling… any guesses?

PACKING AND UNPACKING.

On a regular day at home my least favourite chore is putting the laundry away.  I’ll have clean clothes sit folded in the basket for ages – so it makes sense that this is my least favourite part of traveling.  It’s essentially putting away laundry multiple times. The other thing is that I am by no means a “light packer.” I pack as if I’m going to some uncivilized planet or the North Pole. Why yes, I do need to pack 25 shirts for a week long trip. Yes, I do need to bring this drill… what if i need to build something. That one might be an exaggeration, but only slightly. However, even with my terrible packing habits I did throw together some travel tips for you!

Top 10 Travel Tips

  1. Whether it’s handwritten or on your phone start making a list of what you need to pack. A list on your phone is easy because if you’re out and remember something random just add it to the list because I promise when it comes time to pack you won’t remember that random item until it’s too late.
  2. Do your research. If you’re going somewhere new, especially foreign countries, ask your friends for suggestions or look up reviews online for recommendations. It’s the worst when you find out after the trip that you missed out on some hidden gem of a restaurant or an awesome local activity just because you didn’t know about it.
  3. If you’re going to a foreign country that speaks another language be sure to learn some essential words. The locals will be a lot friendlier if they see you’re actually trying to connect with them in their native tongue rather than expecting them to know your language.
  4. Always pack a change of clothes and other essentials in your carry on, especially when traveling abroad (I always pack a  swimsuit when I’m coming to Barbados). I know it doesn’t happen often but sometimes you’ll get separated from your luggage. You’ll be pissed about not having your stuff but you’ll be so happy when you arrive to at least have something besides your travel clothes.
  5. If you have a scale at home and are a heavy packer (like me) or are going on a longer trip, try and weigh your suitcase before you leave the house. 50 lbs max but you can always pay the overweight fee. Or you have to open your suitcase as the check in desk and move some things to your carry on until it’s the correct weight… another incident I have encountered due to my heavy packing tendencies.
  6. Make sure you know the rules. Security has gotten tighter and you don’t want to be THAT person that holds up the line even more. So, no liquids over 3.4 fl oz, nothing sharp or hazardous, be prepared to take your shoes off, and laptops must come out of your bag and put into their own container. Most people know these things but there’s always that one person.
  7. Snacks. Gone are the days where you got full meals on airplanes (unless it’s a long flight then food is still available) but most flights at best will give you a drink and a bag of pretzels. So be sure to pack a little something to nibble on and to buy your drink AFTER you’ve gotten through security.
  8. Give yourself plenty of time. I hate to say it but I’ve been that maniac running through the airport, shoes in hand, to catch my flight with no time to spare and it’s NOT fun. Bring a book and get their early so you have time to get to the gate and relax before boarding.
  9. Pack some cash in a few different places in case something gets stolen so you’re not left with nothing. Plus credit card fees in other countries can be expensive.
  10. Last but definitely not least, HAVE FUN! Whether you travel a little or a lot it’s an amazing opportunity that not everyone gets to experience. Live in the moment and make every minute count!

**Here’s a FREE PackingList for you to fill out!**

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TLC: Tinder Loving Care… or NOT.

Everyone loves to hear about Tinder dates (especially the bad ones). Well my friends, I believe this date could go down in the record books as Worst Date in the History of the World. By now I’m sure everyone has had some experience with Tinder. Either first hand or by watching your single friends swipe left or right in search of someone to match with. Everyone on Tinder has different goals. Some are looking for an actual relationship (this may be the minority), some are looking for a hook up with no strings attached, and every now and then you may come across someone looking for a threesome, dominatrix, or to cheat on their spouse (these are just a few things I’ve come across so far).

It was a normal day when I got a notification on my phone from tinder letting me know I have, “a new match!” Let’s see who mutually swiped right for me this time.

Sam and I are now a match! He messaged me right away and got straight to the point. The question everyone wants to ask but also doesn’t want to ask, “what are you looking for on Tinder?”  I answered very carefully.  At this point in my life I’m not looking for some kind of one night stand or “fuck buddy,” I’m looking for something more serious. I also understand the concept of dating; you’re not going to meet once and decide to be exclusive and then start with the “boyfriend/girlfriend” labels right off the bat. My answer was that I’m looking for something more serious but that I am open to other options too. Well, I guess that was a little vague and misleading on my part.  Sam asked if I’d like to meet up for coffee later that week. He asked to meet at a local Starbucks at 6:oo P.M.

These are the things that ran through my head…

  1. I don’t drink coffee
  2. 6:00… that’s dinner time.  Do I eat before? Do I wait and see if we go to eat after… this was such a weird time.
  3. Is coffee some kind of test to see if he wants to even spend money on me for dinner?

I debated even going at all but I figured I need to get out and meet new people and the experience could be good just to get out in the dating world. So I got ready and got to Starbucks (I was early, as usual) and I waited. I saw him walk in the door so I got up and hugged him hello and then we sat down.  I was a little thrown off right away because he picked the location but didn’t order anything but he also didn’t offer to order me anything so we just awkwardly sat in this Starbucks without buying anything!

This is when things started to get good. When I say good, I mean bad. I’m just going to quote a couple of the highlights within the first 30 minutes of this meeting.

Sam: “I’m what girls usually call a fuckboy.”
Me: “You do realize that is NOT a compliment right?”
Sam: “Yea, I know but if a girl doesn’t sleep with me after 2-3 dates I just don’t talk to her again.”
Me: “…”

He continued to go on and tell me how he can tell right away if he will want to sleep with a girl or not. I already had checked my watch about 3 times and it had barely been 35 minutes.  Was this the point when I could just get up and walk out? At the same time I was intrigued to hear what other ludicrous things he was going to say. The next topic was politics… always a good thing to bring up on a first date… or not. Let’s just say we had varied opinions on that as well.

The best part was when he told me he did not want a serious relationship until he was late 30’s so he can get married at 40. Okay, that’s fine, but this is how the convo went…

Me: “So if you met a girl tomorrow who you thought was the most beautiful girl in the world and you loved to spend time with her, you would just let her walk away because you’re not 38 yet and don’t want a serious relationship?”

His response…

Sam: “I consider myself to be a very good looking guy so yea she can walk away and I’ll find another one.”

I really wanted to leave, he was just wasting my time at this point. No matter how rude and ridiculous he was I still had this feeling that I didn’t want to be rude (I need to get over that). Luckily, he initiated the ending of this “date” by splitting his hands to indicate a fork in the road while saying, “Well, I guess we’re looking for different things so we should probably just part ways here.” I couldn’t agree more so my response was simply, “Yep,” as I grabbed my purse and almost sprinted out the door. That’s when I immediately got on my phone laughing to call all my friends and tell them how utterly ridiculous this date was. Longest hour of my life; I’m not really sure how I even lasted that long!

Lesson learned: be upfront about what I’m looking for and never be nervous for a date again because none will ever be as terrible as this one. I hope this gives everyone a laugh and to all the other single ladies out there: I hope it gives you some peace of mind that if I survived this date, you can also survive the dating world.

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**Post title help from my business partner and friend, Hannah**

 

Spontaneous Road Trips

I’ve never been a spontaneous person. I try to be and I like the idea of it but the reality of it is: I’m a planner. Always have been, always will be. I may “spontaneously” make plans to do something but it’s still always a few days before so I can get the details worked out.

Where was I this weekend though? I was in the car on a 12 hour road trip to Michigan and Ohio! When was this planned? The MONDAY before.

I haven’t directly said it before but I’m an Independent Distributor with It Works! Global. Best $99 I’ve ever spent.  I’m bringing this up because that’s what got me to Michigan. It was my very first, in person, It Works event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The journey there was… hectic.  We ended up driving through rain, fog, sleet, and then a full-blown blizzard (IN APRIL!). There’s really no other reason I’d ever travel all the way to Michigan.  Like I said before, it’s a 10 hour drive (it got extended 2 hours due to the weather).

This event was a training for It Works distributors and I was super pumped because going meant I got to meet more of my team in person and see Hannah again! Before It Works! I actually didn’t know any of these girls; I had Hannah on Facebook but never met her in person until she surprised me last month.  This company has brought so many new friends, confidence, freedom, and of course money into my life. The money is exciting and why I started but since then it has become so much more.  It’s now about changing lives, bringing families home, about having freedom! Since I said, “yes” to this opportunity my team alone has changed 50+ lives either through the business or the products.

After an amazing training we hopped back in the car and heading to Ohio. “We” is my mom and me.  That’s another awesome thing about It Works! I get to have my mom as a business partner and work together. This can definitely get frustrating but rewarding in the long run. One of my mom’s friends who lived in Barbados when we lived there now lives in Ohio.  Her house is almost exactly halfway back to our house so we went to see her and her family for the night. Renee (my mom’s friend) recently opened up the cutest little store you’ve ever seen that has beautiful new and refurbished furniture and decor. If you’re ever in the area or need some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, go check out her store! She even has workshops to learn how to do different techniques with the paint and events where you can work on a piece you purchase or bring in. I wish I lived closer so I could bring in everything I own haha.

The other place we visited while in Ohio was Fat Head’s Brewery and Saloon. Renee’s husband Paul opened up this place and it has won countless awards and medals for their original craft beer.  I personally don’t like beer but I did eat the food and damnnnn it was good. Do you like bacon? I LOVE bacon. My life would be so sad without bacon.  They have on their menu, “Headwiches” – sandwiches as big as your head! The one I tried was Devine Swine – pulled pork with bacon on top and man it was good! I would highly recommend it!

We also took a little drive around these old Victorian houses and I found my dream home.  It needs fixing up but it’s absolutely beautiful.  Not for sale but maybe I can replicate it someday.

Can you believe we did all this in one weekend?! I can’t. We got back in the car around 3:00PM on Sunday and headed back to good ole VA. It was a great weekend that I never would’ve had if it wasn’t for It Works! I’m so grateful for the opportunities this company has given me and I have never been one to stay in one place too long so being able to travel is a HUGE plus.

Comment//Message me if you have any questions about anything in this post! I’d love to welcome you to the team and be a part of a life changing decision.

xoxo Brie, like the cheese.

Surprise!

My mom pulled it off. She planned a surprise that didn’t get ruined, no one spilled the beans, and I was genuinely surprised (in shock actually). I literally had NO IDEA. The funny thing is, SO MANY people (pretty much everyone on our It Works! Team, that’s 100+ people) knew about it!

She had mentioned she ordered something for me for my birthday and that there was a delay and it hadn’t been delivered yet. I’m thinking she ordered something on Amazon or some other website.  Actually, to be honest, I thought it was more seasons of the Golden Girls on DVD because I had been asking for those (I’m basically a middle aged woman).

I didn’t think anything of it when one of the secretaries at my office came by saying that someone reported that a blue, Hyundai Accent had it’s lights on (that’s my car).  I immediately ran out to check because I JUST got a new battery and was going to be so annoyed if I killed it. I walked up to the passenger side and looked in… no lights on.
I thought, “guess someone else has the same car.”
Then I noticed writing on the driver’s side window… my first thought was, “Oh sh*t, who did I piss off enough to vandalize my car?!”
So as I started to walk around to the driver’s side to see what was on my car I look up and my mom, Mike, Sean (Mike’s son), and one of my BFFs Hannah come running out!!!
{They had painted, “SURPRISE!” on the driver’s side and I went to the wrong side, oops}

You can see in my face how shocked I was!

This was a Wednesday and they proceeded to tell me I didn’t have to work the next two days. How was this possible?! My boss had also been in on this surprise! She made sure I didn’t have any appointments set up for the next two days and already planned the days off with my mom. Sneaky.

Needless to say it’s been a busy month! I’m seriously just so excited for all the things to come this year. 2016 keeps getting better with each passing day!

xoxo
Brie

 

A Week of Celebrations

It’s been a little while since my last post but that’s because as I mentioned before, I turned 25 this month. March 8th to be more specific. Now, why would my birthday cause a delay in posting? Because my family and friends went above and beyond this year. It wasn’t just a birthDAY it was a birthWEEK.  So much went down that I haven’t had the chance to really sit for a minute and write!

Here are the highlights:
My mom did a little card and present each day for the week. Which was awesome! Little things like a big candy bar, a calendar, etc. On the Saturday before my birthday my uncle came from NYC for a weekend and we did a family party. BBQ and cake! My actual birthday was on a Tuesday and flowers were delivered to my office from my mom and her boyfriend, Mike. After work, my mom and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner (this is tradition). We always share the fried calamari, filet mignon, and then each get our own piece of cheesecake (I rotate between the Chocolate Tuxedo Creme – which recently had a name change, the Godiva chocolate, and the Oreo!).

**Side note: I never get surprises. They get planned but somehow they always get ruined. SOMEHOW I find out, someone spills the beans… SOMETHING. I usually know most of my presents before the occasion (think Christmas, birthdays, etc.)**

I was pretty bummed because I thought my mom had been planning yet another surprise that got ruined and I was telling my amazing Big about it (literally in tears because I always ruin surprises when people work hard on them; I’m also a terrible actor so I can’t even pretend like I didn’t find out and fake being surprised either).  So I got home that night and my perfect gem of a Big had sent me a beautiful edible arrangement that I was NOT expecting at all! She surprised me ❤

Friday night my step-sisters came from Fredericksburg with their mom and we went to the Cheesecake Factory AGAIN! This was planned last minute so I just happened to get lucky and go twice in one week!

I was told to keep the Saturday after my birthday free because I needed to show up at my friend Laura’s house around 4:00 and dress cute haha. She was not very subtle in this surprise. I knew there was some kind of gathering happening but I wasn’t sure exactly what we were doing and who would be there. I got there and everything was so cutely decorated and most of my closest friends were there (some were missing). There was a piñata and what I had been waiting ALL WEEK for – a Sugar Shack donut CAKE. Basically a giant donut that you can share with everyone! We had a nice quiet little gathering that later switched over to a house party.

Overall I had an amazing start to my 25th year of living and I just know the year ahead will hold even more amazing adventures!

Here are some pictures of my crazy, fun, exciting birthWEEK!