Friday, April 29, 2011

Before and After, After Furnishings

What a difference the furniture makes!  TC Millwork has just signed on for two more room renovations for this amazing project.  Please see last link for drastic before images and finished woodworks.  The completed kitchen; the oversize bell shade light fixture sheds light on the large central island.
Master Bedroom with garden and ocean views

Powder Room with textured, light-catching wallpaper

Hallway and dining nook with contemporary branch chandelier and sconces

Infinity pool with Ipes lounge platform

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wed Day

All images by pepperkeystacie

In March Tropical DMC planned Heather and Dan's wedding in beautiful Chalk Sound.  Most of Providenciales weddings take place on the North shore so this south side wedding was a unique departure from the norm.  The ceremony was held in the often boat filled Taylor Bay.

The brides parents hosted the reception at their newly finished spectacular home. 


Our congratulations to the super sweet couple!

For more images of this gorgeous affair, please see Brilliant's blog

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter and Environmentalism

Image found at  greening sacred spaces , poster can be ordered at ucrdstore

"You shall not pollute the land in which you live... you shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell."
Numbers 35:33-34

Biblical quotations found on

"But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being."
Job 12:7-10

  Today is Easter Monday here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Many faiths throughout the country have been celebrating for the last several days; at church, at home, on the beach, and on the water!  I only wish we had a fraction of the enthusiasm for earth day as we do for Easter because both are more connected than one may realise.  I like to think that faith goes hand in hand with environmentalism; taking care of the great gifts we have been given.  Green Faith does too, please visit their website to learn more about how faith and protecting our planet are interconnected.  Please click here to read more green biblical verses.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Turks and Caicos National Trust's Easter Jubilee

Beautiful handwoven bow at the TCI National Trust Grand Opening in the IGA complex

  What a happy earth day it was here in Turks and Caicos!  The largest, most frequented retail grocer in the country made a giant leap forward.  Graceway IGA and Graceway Gourmet proclaimed yesterday a day without  plastic, distributing only paper bags and words of encouragement for shoppers to start using their own reusable bags.  The first 200 lucky shoppers were given, free of charge, a reusable shopping bag for all future visits.  Please see the ECO-ZONE April 21 segment (around the 11:15min mark) brought to you by PTV to watch the good news for yourself.  The TCI National Trust was also on hand to sell their wonderful selection of cotton bags.

Any of these cotton bags would make excellent grocery shopping bags.  Styles range from $7 -$15 and go towards supporting their mission, ""To safeguard the natural, historical and cultural heritage of the Turks and Caicos Islands for present and future generations and for the enjoyment of all."

A fantastic selection of locally made and crafted products available at the National Trust boutique.
  All images by PepperKeyStacie

Today, Saturday April 23rd, the TCI National Trust and the Rotaract Club
host their first ever Easter Jubilee at the Cheshire Hall heritage site located just past the new hospital.  Entrance fee is $3 for kids and $5 for adults for loads of fun-filled activities including a petting zoo, food and craft vendors, Easter egg decorating and of course the famous Easter egg hunt!  Please come and support this extremely valuable organization

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TCI Shines and Earth Day

Photo by David Stone

"Please Help TCI Shine All Year Long!"  This was the TCI Environmental Clubs message for last Saturday's clean-up.  Big thanks to the artistic skills of several kids at the Edward C. Gartland Youth Centre

Photo by PepperKeyStacie

Participants in the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association's TCI Shines Campaign showed up bright and early at 6:30am at the Lower Bight Park.  Here are the teams and individuals we all have to thank for making Providenciales cleaner and greener:

  Much to my disappointment, after seeing 36 new volunteers sign-up at the Volunteer Fair and all 200 members of the TCI Environmental Club alerted via our facebook page, only ten of us turned up for this great initiative.  Unlike last year, where the event saw far more partipants, we were unable to meet our goal of 700 bags collected.  The good news is that for the very first time, we were able to separate recyclables from the litter, all of which was so generously collected by TCI Waste.  

Huge thanks to IGA and Graceway Gourmet for their Earth Day efforts

  Tomorrow is Earth Day, please get out there and Clean It Up and join our Campaign to Ban Single Use Plastic Bags in the TCI.  Lynn Robinson and I made note of how many plastic bags we collected over the 3 hours and tallied over 150 plastic bags removed during TCI Shines with just the two of us!  Please shop with thought and bring your own reusable bags, don't use a toxic plastic bag designed to last over 1,000 years for ten needless minutes and then throw it away to pollute our environment.  If you see someone littering in TCI, please educate them on why they shouldn't.  Let them know there will be a bottle deposit coming soon to a parking lot near them and to keep those beverage containers as they will be worth CASH!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wed Day

Photo by PepperKeyStacie
Congratulations to Katie and James who tied the knot at the gansevoort last Saturday!  The mother of the bride contacted us about the weathered antique door she saw on style me pretty, inquiring if a similiar collage could be created with photos of the soon to be married couple from their youth. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Carole briefly in person; she was such a ray of sunshine and calm, even while juggling the day before wedding trials and tribulations! She kept her sweet and thoughtful gesture a complete surprise to everyone but the brides sister, whom she consulted for photo editing to make certain all pictures would pass as non-embarassing!  What a lucky bride, and lucky son-in-law, to have this wonderful woman support and grace their married life. 

Thank you so much for the beautiful execution of the decorative door that you created for Katie and James' wedding. I was so pleased with how it looked, and the kids were truly surprised and delighted by it! I hope you got some great photos of the end product, and I'll be sure to forward you Jon Nickson's link when he has his photographs on line if there are night shots that show off how wonderfully it added to the decor of the evening. And how sweet of you to include the shadow box for me; I cannot wait to create a wonderful remembrance of the day.
Thank you again for your artistry and your flexibility about helping with my needs in the T & C. You have a spectacular island, and I am sure that we will return. Perhaps we will take stay at fleur de lys villa :)

Carole, you are a gem and it was our pleasure to assist!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Volunteer in Turks and Caicos!

TCI Environmental Club table and poster, artwork provided by art class students of the ECGYC, followed by the Red Cross, the TCSPCA, and other tables.  Please click here to watch the ptv 8 media coverage of the event at the 3:40min mark.  Our interview at the 4:40min mark

Great live performance by the Enid Capron Primary Students
All images by PepperKeyStacie

 On Saturday April 9th, the first Turks and Caicos Volunteer Fair took place at the Gus Lightbourne Sports Complex located in downtown Providenciales.  The fair was organized by Magnetic Media, whose primary goal was to gain 500 new volunteers to support local organizational efforts.  The over 40 groups that participated included civil, community, church, even athletic organizations.  I was fortunate to participate on behalf of the TCI Environmental Club, and saw for myself what a fantastic turnout and success the event turned out to be.  I volunteer regularly at the Edward C. Gartland Youth Center and try to help out as much as I can with Potcake Place and the tcspca, and still had no idea just how many great and deserving groups and clubs are operating in our little country with big hearts!  I would encourage every single person, whether Turks and Caicos Islanders, full time residents, part-time residents, visitors, young or old!, please take some time to make Turks and Caicos a better place.  Listed below are all the participants, please contact any of the below to get involved in your organization(s) of choice:

100 Black Man Of The TCI Art Forbes 231-1220
Baseball Pastor Bradley Handfield 232-1970
Bethany Brotherhood
Brownies Gertrude Forbes 231-4307
Cancer Foundation Marilyn Forbes 231-2629
CAPAA Winsome Fearon 244-2693
Civil Servant Association Rufus Ewing 231-3063
Community Care Access Association Sandy Elder 241-1307
Community Fellowship Centre Bennett Thomas 941-3484
Cricket Association Michael Pureora 331-3607
Diabetes Foundation Elaine Clare 241-7601
Disaster Management Jamell Robinson 231-0177
Drug Foundation Gerilane Rigby
Edward Gartland Youth Center Roxanne Wake-Forbes 331-9602
Emergency Medical Services Patrick Riel 331-8193
Girls Guide Gertrude Forbes 231-4307
Health and Social Service
Heart Foundation Karen Malcolm 247-3269
Interact Carl Isaac 232-7509
Kidney Foundation Claude Swann 242-3883
Kiwanis Stanley Taylor 231-0496
Mary Kay Connection/ Lady Bug Melanie Smith 431-2049
National Aids Program Aldora Robinson 331-1426
National Cancer Society Lucille Lightbourne 231-4374
National Youth Hotline Tiffney Ellis 242-9196
Native Man Fellowship Bill Grant 341-6242
Pot cake Foundation Susan Blehr 231-3052
Provo Amateur Basketball Association Sydwell Glasgow 244-9508
Provo Chamber Of Commerce Tina Fenimore 232-6418
Provo Children Home Almartha Thomas 243-3205
Rapport Hezron Henry 941-4984
Red Cross Julia Brothwell 244-0318
Rotaract Nicquell Garland 244-2330
Rotary Art Forbes 232-1220
Salvation Army Matthew Trayler 431-9711
Seven Day Adventist Judith Robinson 231-2950
Star Foundation Roger Harvey 333-3999
TCI Aids Awareness Foundation Jeannie Savory 231-1150
TCI Environmental Club Stacie Steensland 242-8209
TCI Sports Commission Darian Forbes 242-6246
TCI Tennis Foundation Art Forbes 232-1220
TCI Volunteer Fire Department Aubrey Felix 231-9904
TCSPCA Susan Blehr 231-3052
Youth Department Angela Forbes 331-4892

Special thanks to two young ladies, Jada and Adriana, who spoke to me for quite some time about their impressive knowledge of taking care of the planet.  Both  9 years old, these two brought the most encouraging words to our table; "we promise to take care of the environment Stacie!" they proclaimed enthusiastically as they skipped off hand in hand to visit the other tables.  When you volunteer, moments like those make it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Invasive Species Workshop

Causarina Pine invading a beached boat, Middle Caicos
 Photo taken on March 03, 2008

Same scene December 2010
All images by Pepper Key Stacie

 On Saturday, March 19th, DECR Project Manager Bryan Naqqi Manco offered an invasive species workshop at the National Environmental Centre.  At the very top of the Turks and Caicos list is the Casuarina, also known as the Australian Pine.  This tree is believed to be allelopathic, meaning it poisons the surrounding soil with chemical compounds and spreads a thick blanket of needles which make it virtually impossible for any other species to grow under it.  Here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, one often finds the species colonising the sandbars and likely where one has taken root, multiples follow shortly after. For an astounding example, populations in South Florida quadrupled from 1993 to 2005, a fact not difficult to believe as demonstrated by the photos above.  If you have a Causarina on your property, the best step is to chop the tree down and poison the stump with roundup.  Naqqi explained the tree is closely related to oak and that there are many great uses for your now fallen tree.  Causarina is a straight hardwood and is excellent for making poles, charcoal, kindling, and even insulation (if treated as may attract fungus).  The needles make an excellent termite resistant mulch.  If you can't part with your Causarina then prevent it from spreading by raking the needles weekly and trimming the fruit, the small pinecone looking flower.  If you have several Causarina on your property and don't mind the trees still standing once dead, you could drill into the trunks at a 45 degree angle and pour roundup in the hole, or try ring barking the trees by ripping the bark in a circle around the bases.

  Left: Non invasive native locust tree with papery seed pod Right: Invasive Cow bush with prolific seed pods
  Number two on the invasive list is locally known as Cow Bush, Leucaena leucocephala.  Cow bush can be mistaken for a local locust tree, Lysiloma latisiliquum as the leaf structure is very similiar.  To differentiate the two look for the seed pods.  If the pods split easily and are extreme in quantity it's cow bush.  If the seed pods are very thin and papery it is the locust tree.  The seed pod of the cow bush consists of 20% protein, useful in some parts of the world as a fodder crop, hence our common name. Consumption is advisory as the foliage, the seed pods, and the seeds themselves contain toxic mimosine which causes hair loss, reduced thyroid function, and other health issues.   The toxins can be depleted if one boils twice before consuming, but as Naqqi explained it's a lengthy process for very little taste return.  Some ruminants like cattle, sheep, and goats have the digestive system for it, they can consume it safely if they are accustomed to the food source and have the necessary rumen bacteria to break it down.  Cow bush has ivory puffball shaped flowers and produces an incredible amount of seeds per tree. It is so prolific experts are unsure where the tree originated.  They can grow over 20 feet in just two to three years, and if one has ever seen a gardener try to yank one out of the ground at a mere 8 inches of height, one would realize the strength of their root system and exactly how tough this tree is to remove.  Burning them only fosters growth; it causes the seeds to burst out of the pods like pocorn and allows more oxygen to reach the seed.  Cow bush creates a nectar around the leaves which fire ants like so be careful when trying to remove.  Young trees can be clipped persistently until they die, which may take many months of monitoring.  Established trees must be cut at the lateral roots, just below the hip, or where the trunk meets the roots.  This will involve quite some digging.  From first hand experience, trying to take a shortcut by chopping the tree low with a chainsaw will not save you any time.  The stump will quickly be covered in new green shoots.  These trees multiply at an alarming rate so dealing with them on your property is a " sooner the better" recommendation.  We removed one large 25 foot tall tree at the front of our drive last year and I still remove dozens of babies bi-monthly around the area it once stood.

Scaevola at Nightjar Beach Access in Leeward

Scaevola creeping into the dune line near the Somerset

Number three on our list is Scaevola Taccada, or Beach Naupaka.  Not to be confused with our native Scaevola Plumieri which has dark berries, the invasive scaevola has large white berries and a distinctive white half flower which Hawaii explains through legend.  Scaevola originated in the Indo-Pacific but as the seeds float, they have been a fast travelers.  It is highly suggested to remove scaevola specifically around beach and dune areas where they strangle out other vegetation.  Chopping down should be far easier than the causarina or cow bush, but make certain to remove the roots with a pick axe.  If you are using scaevola as a hedge, make certain to keep it pruned so as not to let it spread. 

The half flower of the invasive Scaevola

Number four on the list is most likely the least known species, commonly called the Brazilian Pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius.  This sprawling shrub often inhabits disturbed areas, wet or dry, and quickly displaces other plants and trees.  The berries are very well liked by birds which encourages their spread.  The Brazilian Pepper resembles the native Hercules Club which has lime berries and is quite rare, so be sure to identify properly.  The Brazilian Pepper has a skin  irritant sap so be careful to wear gloves during removal.  Removal is best to cut to the ground with a machete or chainsaw, then cut a divet into the trunk and pour roundup.  Do not burn as it may cause a serious reaction for anyone sensitive to this plant. 

Invasive species samples from left to right #1 Causarina, #2 Cow Bush, #3 Scaevola, and #4 Brazilian Pepper

  Other species that are on the world's top 100 invasive species list but that have been naturalised here in the Turks and Caicos Islands are the African milk weed herb (great host plant for the monarch butterfly), Sisal, Red Milkweed, Moses in a Boat (most likely introduced by the Tainos for medicinal and spiritual purposes), and Kalanchoe (also known as Mother of Thousands, from Madagscar and toxic).  If you find these species on your property but find they aren't a direct threat to your other vegetation, feel free to let them be.

  For more information on Invasive Plants in the Turks and Caicos, please click here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ecco Shoot

 Last May I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to travel to Norway with Cindi Blair Productions for an ecco shoot.  Ecco has been making quality shoes since 1963, click here to see a fascinating timeline of the company's history since it's birth in Denmark. 

  Normally I am working on the production end, versus the talent end so this was an extremely rare opportunity for me to know what it is like being in front of the camera versus behind the scenes. 

Lucky for me there was no hair and make-up, no primping or styling, simply get dressed in the great outdoor gear and get out in the great outdoors!

The only faint hardship Rob McGarry and I endured was getting our feet wet, literally, in the fjords!  Brisk is a severe understatement.  In retrospect I probably would have been willing to swim in it to soak in all the beauty of Norway, a country I hope to see again.

All images by Michael Dwornik

Big thanks to the entire crew for being so patient with us rookie's!  It was a fantastic experience in which I gained a great deal of respect for Ecco as a company.  Not only do they make durable and amazing shoes, you as a consumer can feel good about buying them thanks to their Charity Events and Corporate Responsibility initiatives.