Friday, September 23, 2011

MET Fashion Photo Show Presents: Costa Rica & Nicaragua

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to another edition of the MET Fashion Photo Show blog. Last month my wife and I had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica & Nicaragua with friends and family. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I wanted to capture the trip with as many pictures as possible. I wanted to share some of our experience with you in this special edition of my blog. As promised in the last edition, I will be giving away a souvenir from Nicaragua. This leather bag is a little token of my appreciation for those of you who have registered as followers of my blog. In addition, the lucky winner will also receive a free photo shoot for one hour that will include a limited use CD with the images taken during the photo session and five, 5x7 portraits of your choice from the images taken during the session. Right now I am working toward making this a monthly contest for one lucky winner each month. Contest rules will be made available soon so stay tuned to the blog!

Costa Rica is approximately a five and a half hour flight. Because we always wanted to visit Costa Rica the flight didn't seem so long. Once we arrived in Guanacaste, we were surrounded by rich, beautiful countryside. August constitutes part of the rainy season. (The rainy season takes place six months out of the year from May to November) When we were told that this was the rainy season, our first thoughts were of tropical depressions pouring lots and lots of water on us on a daily basis. (We were wrong!) It barely rained during our trip and when it did, it broke up the humidity that filled the air. We stayed at the Villa Cansada where everything is all inclusive. The food was very good and the staff was even better. The staff really went out of their way to make us feel at home. There were no televisions in the room, and not too many outside distractions making Guanacaste a great destination if you want to get away from it all.

Guanacaste is known as the "Beach Spot" in Costa Rica. The views are amazing. Here is the view from the front side of the villa.

Even more stunning than that are the sunsets that take place. The villa had two jacuzzis and a swimming pool. The second jacuzzi has a little hut on top of it. There is a waterfall directly under the hut that adds an amazing touch to the villa.
A five minute walk will put you onto the beach. The beach has beautiful beige sand. There are rocks that can be climbed that the locals use for fishing, viewing the island and simply relaxing. In Guanacaste you become one with nature. The animals run free and they don't mind showing up at the villa for food. A couple of staff members have visitors that come by for food everyday. Here are a husband and wife team of iguanas.
The iguanas come by religiously everyday at lunchtime. Sometimes you would see strange visitors that would be considered food themselves, stop by to say hello, or to grab something to eat.

At nite you can hear the monkeys in the trees. When they are playing with one another, the sounds can easily be mistaken for crying babies. There are about four different types of species that roam the islands. They will not bother you, but if you offer them food, they will not forget you. It's no different than feeding the animals here. Costa Rica is also known for its beautiful bird population. However, because of the rainy season, the birds fly off to other destinations. As you can see in this photo, not all of the birds fly away for vacation. The birds that visit the villa greatly appreciate a free meal just like everyone else.

There are great souvenirs that can be purchased in town. Local vendors pride themselves on the items that they sell. If you are a collector of beautiful handcrafted, wood items, then Costa Rica is the destination for you. Fruits grow plentifully here. As seen in this mango tree, there is no shortage of fruit. Breakfast was a real joy as fresh cut fruits were served for breakfast everyday.

We took some wonderful tours across the island exposing us to the many different sites that make Guanacaste an excellent place to spend vacation. Costa Rica is next to Nicaragua and the Panama Canal. If you are willing to take the drive, in just under two hours time you can be in either country. On this trip we took the two hour trip to Nicaragua. We didn't know what to expect. You always here about the negative side of the country such as the former military conflict and the poverty that greatly exists. We did see the poverty that affects this country greatly, however there is also the beautiful countryside as well. Our biggest regret was not being able to spend more time in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a photographers paradise. At this time I want to share some of the pictures that I took in Nicaragua.

We did a tour of the many mini islands that exist. On these islands you will see white faced monkeys.

These monkeys are very tourist friendly and do not mind asking for food. They love bananas and other fresh fruit. They do not like dried nuts or trail mix. (My wife found this out the hard way! The monkey tried it and abruptly threw it to the ground!) The crocodiles like fresh fruit. Yes crocodiles! They swim up to the boat when they are called. Yes, you did hear that right. The locals are able to call out to the local crocodiles and they will approach your boat.

When we arrived in the center of town, we were dropped off in what the locals call "Central Park". Their park is not as large as ours, however it is just as beautiful if not more beautiful. There are churches, a school, a big flea market in the center of the park, a large shopping area that goes on for several blocks and fine restaurants that offer the best Nicaraguan cuisine.

After we completed our visit to the local islands, we toured an active volcano. The pictures that you are about to see are the sign of the cross that is found by climbing the steps to the highest accessible point to the volcano. You are also looking inside of an active volcano with the sulphur rising from the volcano.

There are economic problems that clearly exist on the streets of this beautiful country. Artists have taken to the walls of the streets to voice their concerns and to make the general public aware of what is going on. I took some pictures of the walls and performed very little changes in restoring these images into potential works of art as seen in the eyes of the artists who created them. I wanted you to have a clear visual picture of the beauty that does exist.

Just when you think that there is nothing else to take pictures of, the sun begins to set. Costa Rica has some of the most amazing sunsets that you will ever see. I thought that this would be a good way to conclude this edition of the blog.

Well, that's it ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day yo read about our trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I will announce the winner of this months contest in the next edition of my blog. Next time I will introduce you to the scholarship winner chosen from the You Can Go To College Committee program, Ms Tatiana Walker. If you are interested in seeing some more pictures from our trip, please visit my Facebook page, or my website,, "Costa Rica & Nicaragua". No password is needed to view the pictures.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MET Fashion Photo Show Presents: "By Me Brooklyn"

Good afternoon again ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining me in another edition of the MET Fashion Photo Show blog. My blog focuses on real New Yorker’s wearing real New York fashions. In addition to interviewing New Yorker’s wearing fashions, I am going to also interview boutique and clothing store owners as well. In today’s edition of the blog I am going to focus on a boutique located in Brooklyn on Myrtle Avenue. “By Me Brooklyn” is located at 519 Myrtle Avenue. This boutique has the latest women’s fashions and tends to be a very popular stop amongst the residents that reside in the neighborhood. At this time I would like to introduce you to two of the fashion coordinators that make “By Me Brooklyn” a must stop on your shopping list. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Jaqueline and Chloe.

ME: Good afternoon ladies and thank you for allowing me to interview you for the latest edition of the Fashion Photo Show blog.

ME: Jaqueline please tell the audience a little bit about how “By Me Brooklyn” and “Barking Brown” got started.
JAQUELINE: The owner is a graduate of Pratt University. She loves the area. She realized that this is a great neighborhood and it is continuing to gain in popularity. (The buses and trains connect to Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan in less than fifteen minutes) She also realized that there were not a lot of clothing shops or boutiques for the residents in the neighborhood. With that in mind, Barking Brown was created. (Barking Brown is located at 468 Myrtle Avenue, just three blocks away from Be My Brooklyn) Barking Brown has been open for about three years now. After the huge success of Barking Brown, By Me Brooklyn was created. (By Me Brooklyn is another fashion boutique and it is the sister store of Barking Brown.)

ME: Can you tell the audience what each store is known for?
JAQUELINE: Barking Brown has accessories, handbags, scarves and hats. The hats are for both men and women. By Me Brooklyn has more clothes and shoes. We feature the “Grace” line of hats which are created in Tokyo, Japan.

ME: What are your store hours and the phone numbers for each store?
JAQUELINE: By Me Brooklyn is open Monday to Thursday, 10am x 7pm, Friday and Saturday until 8pm, and Sunday’s until 6pm. (718-622-7260) Barking Brown is open Monday to Saturday 10am x 9pm, and Sunday’s until 8pm. (718-638-3757)

ME: Why do so many people visit your locations?
JAQUELINE: Our customers constantly tell us that they love to come into our stores and strike up conversations with us. Even if they aren’t buying anything, they love to stop in and receive a warm welcome, as well as answers to their fashion questions. If you are having an event and it requires a specific outfit or accessory, we can help you find it. If you have questions about clothing, or what’s in style right now, we love helping our customers find the right item or outfit that suits them. (I am witnessing this first hand as Chloe is attending to two customers while Jaqueline is providing the information for today’s blog) We don’t mind recommending another store if we don’t have, or carry a specified item that you may be looking for. (Jaqueline and Chloe have extensive knowledge about what is in this store as well as what is in Barking Brown. As one of the ladies in the store needs an accessory, Jaqueline is quick to remember that the item might be right down the street and promptly calls over there.) We want our customers to feel relaxed and to have a great experience while browsing through our store. We want the stores to have a personal feel to them. Both locations are small and intimate.

ME: And what major credit cards do you accept?
JAQUELINE: We take the four major credit cards, American Express, Visa, Master Card and Discover.

ME: And the feel of the store, how would you describe it?
JAQUELINE: Trendy, but unique.

ME: I’m pretty sure that the majority of our audience want to know what’s in this season.
JAQUELINE: Lace up boots are going to be be back this season.
Fur and trimming will be in reds and blues are going to be in this year as well. This year is going to be unique because you can have skinny or flair. (Jaqueline believes that within the next year or so, we could see the return of vibrant colors. (Such as the colors seen in the mid eighties, yes, those very bright neon colors!)

ME: Jaqueline, my audience is going to want to know about specific items such as jewelry and what can be done with it. I want to name some specific items and I would like you to tell our audience what they can expect to see.

ME: Lets start off with jewelry.
JAQUELINE: In regards to jewelry, you will see items with feathers, motif, shaped bangles (For example, rectangular shaped items). You will see jewelry that makes a big statement. Necklaces and rings for the Fall/Winter season will be popular.

ME: Sweaters
JAQUELINE: You will see sweaters that are a little tighter in the waist, but with a roomier fit in the shoulder area. This will be a good look with skinny jeans. Asymmetrical sweaters are in. You will also see short waist and long waist sweaters. There will be uneven cuts off of the shoulder as well.

ME: This is the part of the blog where I ask what are the must have items for the fall.
JAQUELINE: The must have items for the fall are:
Lace up boots
Flair pants
Bold, statement jewelry

ME: Can you tell the audience what clothing that “statement jewelry” can be worn with? (An example of statement jewelry is the necklace pictured on the side)
JAQUELINE: Statement jewelry can be worn with a turtleneck or worn over a dress. It should be worn with a crew neck sweater, or someone with a high neck.

ME: What other patterns, items or accessories will we be seeing in the near future?
JAQUELINE: Belts will be back but they will be thinner. There will be lots of mixed patterns. If you are conservative, you must wear bold, statement jewelry. Since there will be a mixture of fashion items, you should see things like a jean jacket with a cocktail dress.

ME: You told me that you are a “Fashion Merchandiser”, one of my students is also studying to be a fashion merchandiser, can you tell the audience some of the things that a fashion merchandiser does?
JAQUELINE: Some of the things that a fashion merchandiser does includes buying clothing and accessories for stores. They also set up displays for clothing items.

ME: Thank you Jaqueline.
JAQUELINE: Your welcome.

ME: Most of the staff that works here majored in fashion. Their dedication to their profession is evident. Customers that come into the store are greeted with warm smiles and a sincerity that is truly hard to find in a larger retail store. The conversations that take place with the customers keep them coming back often. This is truly a skill that many other stores do not have. I would strongly suggest visiting either location for a truly unique shopping experience. Once again I would like to thank you for tuning into the MET Fashion Photo Show blog. Stay tuned next time as I share my experience with you in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Don’t forget to sign up for the Fashion Photo show blog for a chance to win a souvenir from Nicaragua.