Monday, April 14, 2014

Fantazia International- Unleash Your Fantasy

Toronto Carnival Band Launch Season is in full swing! On Saturday April 12th, Fantazia International held their launch for their 2014 Presentation Unleash Your Fantasy at Ricky Richardo's.
The dj's for the evening included D'ENFORCAS, Renegade Squad, Mandigolay, Mad Science and Dj Supreme. The launch was hosted by Bass Line & Winedown and began at approximately 1:00am.
Despite a minor delay due to technical difficulties, six sections graced the runway.

As mentioned within my Band Launch Season 2014 post, there were a few things that I was hoping to see from bands this year and in my opinion, Fantazia Internation did an great job with their presentation for Unleash Your Fantasy. Fantazia International nailed it by including different costume styles, such as monokinis, jeweled bottoms and feathered belts. I also loved many of their color combination choices,  such as the gorgeous pastel purple and baby blue within the Forbidden Fruit section and the nude and coral in Creamsicle. Fantazia also stepped out of the Bikini box within their Den of Sin section, with a black and silver frontline costume that was a sexy cut out one-piece. Apart from the costumes, it was great to see a lot of new faces hitting the runway, and so confidently at that.

In case you missed the presentation, here are the sections:

Forbidden Fruit



Candy Shop

Den of Sin

In terms of our favorite sections, it was really hard to pick just one as they were all quite lovely and I believe will appeal to the various tastes of masqueraders in Toronto. From those who want more coverage, to those who want to bare as you dare.
Overall Great job to the Fantazia International design team and all the best in the 2K14 season!

For more pictures, check out our album on Facebook. 

For more information on Fantazia International and their upcoming registration, check out their website at

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fantazia International Band Launch

This upcoming Saturday, we will be attending Fantazia International Band Launch. 

We are excited to see what Fantasies are unleashed!
Stay Tuned!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tribal Carnival- Secrets of the Wingz

On Saturday April 5th, Band Launch Season for the 2014 Toronto Caribbean Carnival was officially kicked off with Tribal Carnival presentation Secret of the Wingz. Held at the Armenian Cultural Centre, a popular band launch destination, we arrived at the venue at approximately 10pm. Being the first band launch of the season, it was great to see many familiar faces (Karabana, Trinidad Carnivals, FeteNet, etc) in attendance who came to cover and show their support for the launch.

Members of the Toronto Masquerader Association (TMA) were also in attendance and distributed brochures that contained informative information on the initiative’s mandate, public participation and involvement and facts on Toronto Carnival. Such as did you know Toronto Carnival generates an estimated $500 million annually into the economy of Ontario or that Toronto Carnival was given as a gift to the city and country from the West Indian community to commemorate Canada’s Centennial celebration in 1967 (Definitely great tidbits and puts things into perspective as to how important the festival is to the city and province both culturally and economically) If you see the TMA at the upcoming launches, make sure to pick up a copy of brochure and stay informed.

Now, back to the review of the launch… what comes to mind you hear the theme secret of the wingz? Feathers, Angels, and hmm Wings! Good guesses, many of these elements were present to varying degrees in the various sections.  The launch officially started at approximately 1:30am, with SKF taking the role as the MC for the presentation.
The nine sections included:

Guardian Angels


Heavenly Bodies


Angel of Lust


Angelic Passion

The Arch Angel


Although the launch started later than 12am, the models came out full of energy and did a great job showcasing the sections. The audience cheered and applauded as the models strut, took a wine and chipped down the runway. I also loved that I saw many familiar and new faces gracing the catwalk. Speaking of faces, the makeup artists for the evening included Trish Island Besos and the Nikki D Makeup Artistry.

In terms of the costumes, I liked that the designers chose a variety of bright, bold color combinations.  Additionally, a common element I noticed among the sections were collars. After seeing the costumes in person and having another look through the pictures and video, here are my top three pics:

1.      Guardian Angels
2.      The Arch Angel (Collared Backline)
3.      Bliss

Overall Great Job Tribal carnival and all the best during the 2014 Toronto Carnival Season!
What are your top picks? What did you like about the presentation?

Do you want MOR(E)?
Check out our Facebook page for photo album from the launch
And our instagram page ("Thecollaboblog") for videos.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

North American Soca Monarch Competition

Hi Readers,

I came across this information about a new event, the North American Soca Monarch Competition.

Here is some information of what is written on the about section:

On Friday, August 1, 2014, DJ Chris Nice & The Festival Management Committee (for the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival) is pleased to present, the North American Soca Monarch competition. This event will take place at The Bandshell (at the CNE) from 7pm-12:30am, Toronto, Canada.

The theme of The North American Soca Monarch competition is to have the Top 20 (10 Groovy Soca / 10 Up-Tempo Soca) International Soca Artists with a 2014 hit record in heavy rotation (on radio, with mobile Djs and high video views) in North America, compete for the title of the number one Artist in North America, in front a large multicultural audience in attendance from across the globe. Participants will be competing for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the Groovy Soca and Up-Tempo Soca Category, as well as bragging rights for soca supremacy in North America.

We invite all International artists (with song and/or songs in heavy North American rotation) to enter your name in the competition and be a part of the international growth of Soca Music. All artists for the North American Soca Monarch Competition must apply before the April 25, 2014 deadline (registration forms located at

The North American Soca Monarch will play a large roll in showcasing the artist and art form of Soca Music across the globe. Bringing this most important event to North America can only assist in the growth of Soca music and serve as another avenue to further expose this multicultural musical art form that is expanding annually, and as we know added exposure can lead to an extension of an artist’s career. This event will be advertised globally online through several media and marketing outlets.

For more information check out their website

Monday, March 31, 2014

Band Launch Season 2014

With the first Toronto Carnival Band Launch set to kick off this weekend, I thought it would be a great time to do a post on what the audience may like to see during the launch. 

In terms of the launch itself, one thing that is on my wish list is that the launch start at or a little bit before 12:00am. I know there is usually a fete afterwards, however I think a lot of people that go to the launches are awaiting to see the costume presentation. As such an early or on time start would be great.

In terms of costumes, I would love to see a lot of bright colors as well as costumes in the pastel color family. In terms of style, I would love to a few sections that offer the jeweled bottom option as opposed to belt, in addition to monokinis. Less is not always more, I would love to see this year more bands that offer options other beads, bikini and feathers.

In terms of models, I would love to see models representing various skin complexions as well as sizes. Although I am not playing mas this year, I think a lot of masqueraders appreciate seeing how a costume might look on their skin tone and flattering on their body type.
In terms of the night of the launch, here are a few things I would love to see:
1. Models showcasing the costumes confidently and taking their time to rip the runway 
2. Models who stop, pose and smile for the camera at the end of the runway, as well as if possible in the middle
3. Models who are having a great time : )
4. Special Effects- I liked the use of the confetti last year during Saldenah's launch.
5. All costume options displayed
6. An extended finale where all the models come out and show us how the costume moves
7. Information on who the designer and section leader is displayed either in a pamphlet or announced during the presentation

Things I would prefer not to see or happen during a band launch
1. Lots of long talk (lol... a simple intro is usually effective and enhances rather than detracts from the theme)
2. Gum chewing while ripping the runway (Last year I saw a beautiful model chewing gum, which kinda detracted from how her mouth appeared in pictures)
3. Overuse of a smoke machine- I find sometimes makes it difficult to take pictures 

What do you want to see this year during band launch season? 

Trinidad Carnival 2014: Part One

As the weather in Toronto is starting to warm up, the winter chill is fading to the welcomed arrival of spring. With just under a month passing since Trinidad Carnival 2014, which took place on March 3rd  and 4th, time has allowed a few things to settled in, including post carnival Tabanca and the back to reality work life rise and shine. Nonetheless, it has also given me a chance to reflect on my experience, on what has been the best trip of my life (I know, I know, I said that last year… but it’s hard not to have a good time when attending “the greatest show on earth” : )
Here is Part 1 of my Trinidad Carnival 2014 Review.


Prior to heading to Trinidad for carnival 2014, the annual sendoff fete many Torontonians look forward to Doh Cry Aye Leaving (DCAL). This year’s event was especially memorable due to one of my girlfriends deciding to have her bachelorette party at DCAL, as a warm up to her Tobago wedding that was taking place the weekend after carnival. After a delicious meal, drinks and memorable Q&As at the pre fete house party, 25 ladies hopped into a limo and headed to Kool Haus. Adding to the carnival flavor, a special guest appearance from Trinidadian Djs Artiste Team were set to grace the Kool Haus stage, which was decorated as a Big Truck. There were several entertaining moments of the night however the pinnacle of the evening for me was when the bride to be went on stage to request a song which had thereafter turned into a 5 minute performance of her dancing and hyping up the crowd. Priceless moment! Overall DCAL was a good night and a warm up to the big jump up in the weeks to come. 

Photo credit: Teeography
Flight to Trinidad

Arriving three hours before our scheduled 10:30pm flight, and after checking in my bags in (the much shorter) web check in line, my friend and I decided to grab a bite to eat before take-off. This year having a travel buddy on the way down to Trinidad was great. The icing on the cake however, was the discovery that not only were we on the same flight but we were also booked to sit next to each other. Though random and unplanned, this was an awesome coincidence. With minimal delays, our flight left Toronto and was for the most part smooth, with only a bit of intermittent turbulence. Dosing in and out of sleep while on an overnight flight, I was surprised to hear the pilot on the overhead announce we had arrived in Trinidad, and were approximately 1 hour ahead of schedule. After retrieving our luggage and clearing customs, I had a plan to head over to the Digicel counter to get my sim card activated for my phone, while my friend was making a stop a duty free. Last year, I capitalized on the sweet phone plans that were available at the airport, and planned to do the same this year.  However since our flight had arrived early, I was disappointed to find out the Digicel counter did not open until 6:00am. After scanning the length of line at the Bmobile counter, I decided I would just get my phone activated later in town. (This was a decision I later regretted, as the same deals available at the airport are definitely NOT available in town).  Walking out of the airport, I looked around to see whether my ride was waiting for me. To my surprise, although the flight was early my driver I booked through the Hyatt was already there waiting. After saying my goodbyes to my friend, we headed off to the hotel. 

Hyatt Hotel
Arriving at the Hyatt hotel at 7:00am, I was worried that since the official check-in time was 3pm I would not be able to drop my stuff in my room, freshen up and squeeze in a power nap before Beach House. Fortunately, when I arrived at the front desk, the attendant said my room was ready and I was able to check in early at no cost. Recommendation Alert:  Thinking about going to Trinidad Carnival next year and looking into hotels? I highly recommend the Hyatt Regency. Why? Well the service is amazing! The hotel is situated right on the waterfront, so its great that it overlooks the water. Checking in they gave each guest a welcome bag with a souvenir t-shirt and goodies such as sunscreen, hand sanitizer, a map, etc. They also really cater to guests for carnival by offering a free shuttle into POS from the Saturday leading up to Carnival to Carnival Tuesday. Jouvert morning they have an area where they take a picture of you in your morning glory in paint and powder, then hose you down and provide a bath robe and slippers. Not to mention, each night at the infinity pool a live dj kept the vibes sweet. Also you just might run into local and international celebrities. This year I saw Boris Kodjoe, JW & Blaze and more randomly throughout the hotel. Overall, it was a great stay and I can't wait to go back in 2016!


Titivate Trinidad
Prior to getting ready for my first fete for the 2k14 season, I was scheduled to meet with Analiese Ferreira, the owner of Titivate TT, to pick up my custom bag that I ordered to match my costume. I had heard about Titivate from doing an online search of custom carnival bag suppliers. After reading and seeing all of the great reviews on the company’s Facebook page, I decided to place my order.  Communication with Analiese was a breeze and she promptly answered all of my inquiries. Her customer service was awesome and I was extremely grateful for how accommodating she was in arranging a time for me to pick up my bag, especially given that I arrived in Trinidad after the two scheduled pick-up dates. After arranging to meet me in the hotel lobby, I received my bag Thursday morning. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. Anyone who knows me, would likely say I’m a bit of a carnivalista (lol), in that I tend to jazz up or do something unique or different to my costume or accessories . The bag I received from Analiese was amazing, everything down to the design, quality and craftsmanship. After two full days of jamming on the road, not one single jewel came off (which is more than I can say about my costume) but yes overall it was definitely a great investment and was able to fit all of my essentials on the road! Speaking of carnivalista, I ran into Ana on carnival Monday and Tuesday, and it is no wonder she was featured as a TCD Goddess of the Road, she nailed it with custom made pieces on both days!  Recommendation Alert: If you are looking for a custom made bag, Monday wear, or accessory, I highly recommend Titivate TT. Check out their facebook page here

Beach House
Once I got my bag sorted out, it was time to get ready for my first fete for carnival 2014, Beach House Carnival.  After missing attending this fete last year, the sole reason why I decided to arrive early on Thursday morning was to check out for myself one of the most talked about events of the season. After seeing several posts of the BeachHouseMe Instagram page of the menu items and venue to look forward to, I knew I was going to be in for a memorable evening (well at $200 per ticket one would hope so at least lol). Overall Beach House 2014 did not disappoint and did live up to the hype for me as one of my favorite events I attended during carnival. Upon walking into the venue, patrons were greeted by promotion ladies wearing colorful Beach House skirts. After dawning my wrist with my first wristband for the season, my carnival 2k14 was officially underway. Beach House is a pretty fashionable party, where one could see many ladies in colorful tops or long flowy maxi dresses and the fellas in fitted tee’s, quarter length shorts and linen. The venue where Beach House was held was very nice and spacious, and had a cool refreshing breeze due to the surrounding water. With a variety of food and drink stations, patrons could eat to their hearts content, and well into the evening at that; noting from one of my friends grabbed a quick bite in between dancing in the latter portion of the evening.  Once everyone had food and drinks in their system, the party which could have been described as more social, livened up to what Farmer Nappy would call a Big People Party. Overall my first day in Trinidad ended on a high note, and I looked forward to what the remainder of my trip had in store. 

Lessons learnt and things I will keep in mind when I go back
1.       For the best phone deals, always try to get your phone activated with a package at airport
2.       Checking in online using E-check in saved me a lot of time at both Pearson and the Tobago airport
3.       Having a backup mode of transportation is a lifesaver