Heard of Parkinson’s Law?

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Not Parkinson’s disease, yes you read right- Parkinson’s law.

This post was inspired by a @moneyafrica Instagram post on Parkinson’s law.

Yay or Nay?

I’m sure the Analysts in the house are getting ready to say- Inflation, Exchange rate, etc, etc

Calm down y’all!

This has really got me thinking about how well we prioritise and allot time to tasks- in our personal lives, in the workplace, etc etc

Is that Parkinson’s? 🤷‍♀️

Has this got you thinking of how better to plan your tasks, finances, etc.

Life Lessons from Chadwick Boseman

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Death brings out the sentimental and author in all of us (for some of us it helps us find our lost writing pad)
We mourn and eulogise the departed, canonise them and sometimes outline the lessons from their life; for everyone is either a lesson on how to live or how not to live.

Chadwick Boseman 1976 – 2020

His life speaks of strength and courage- diagnosed of cancer in 2016, he have us Black Panther, Civil War, Infinity War, End Game, Thurgood Marshall, 21 Bridges and 5 Bloods- while battling cancer.
That’s a solid legacy for his family- royalties from the movies.
Now is also a good time to check those our incessant ‘ sick leaves’. Its ok to want to take time off but maybe just maybe …….. He worked through cancer treatment. I’m sure the Line Managers and HRMs are waiting to share this with the first few people who request for sick time off. Lol.

He was criticised and shamed for the body weight fluctuations and how he looked tired. I know we’ve seen it a few times today already but just before I ask us to always be kind, here’s a question- do you think the fat or slim person doesn’t know their weight status? What is it to you that you cannot keep your opinion to yourself? Awon Fault finders association!
Anyways, if you cannot be kind, mind your own damn business! Because really, we are all struggling through something. Stop using someone’s pain as your escapism from your own issues.

And yes, the shaming transcends body weight to every other area we feel the need to judge someone for. No one made you judge over another, stop criticising, be kind. It’s easier to criticize than to create, yes. But don’t always take the easy way out.

He battled cancer for 4 years and not a peep. Goes to show he had solid people around him. Now is also a good time to check yourself- awon fastest fingers first, quick to share- good or bad. Maybe just maybe you are the leaky link in your circle of friends.

The final lesson is “Live Well”. Or maybe just live- in all that living entails.

Farewell Chadwick Boseman.



Love and light!

It’s Okay to Not be Okay

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A few days ago, I had a cold; my chest and head hurt badly, my throat was sore and my nose ran intermittently. In light of the current situation, I wondered if I could have been in contact with anyone who could possibly have the virus. However, because we have learned that the virus is transmittable, even when you are asymptomatic, I couldn’t be sure.

So I took some painkillers and medications for cold. It’s been a few days and I’m better. In interacting with people, I’ve realised that there are quite a lot of people with similar symptoms that ‘look’ like COVID-19. A lot of people are even afraid to speak up about their symptoms for fear of being stigmatized. My dear, we are in the rainy season and the weather is cold; so many people have the flu. Some have also imagined the COVID-19 symptoms even when they don’t have the common cold.

Then there’s the mental health implication of COVID-19. There are those who have to live with their abusers – my heart goes out to them. I have seen a few NGOs and CSOs reach out, asking to be contacted as necessary. If you qualify for this, please reach out.

There are those who had pre-existing mental health issues and the current situation cannot be easy on them. At the very basic, for people who need some form of order in their lives, the disruption to their daily lives, livelihoods, routine and all will not be easy.

Then there are those who are alone at this time. I cannot imagine the difficulty of having to be indoors, all alone.

On the flip side, there is also the fact that some ‘regular’ families were able to coexist because they were not in each other’s space 24/7. Funny as it may seem, this will also be a difficult time for those. News out of China is that the divorce rate has increased as a result of the lockdown. Indeed, for some, this is a difficult time to be alone while for others, it’s a difficult time to not be alone. Whatever side of the divide you fall on, remember that it is okay to not be okay.

Beyond the physical and mental health implications, there’s the economic impact of all this. Many have lost their sources of livelihood already, many will – post lockdown. All over the world, economies are wobbling and it’s affecting everyone. Many organisations were unable to pay salaries for the month of March, many will not be able to pay April’s. Nigeria has a large number of SMEs, petty business people who absolutely need to hustle daily to put food on the table. Having them locked down cannot be easy on them.

I know someone reading this is saying- where there’s life, there’s hope, health is wealth, keep an open mind, and all that. I agree. All the positive words don’t mean everything is going to be fine and dandy. For some, it will. For others, it will not. Truth is – the world as we know it will change post-COVID-19 pandemic and it’s okay to be anxious about what the future brings. It is possible to acknowledge the peculiarity of the times and still stay positive. We shouldn’t sweep our feelings under the carpet of positivism.

Although we want to believe that after this lock down, we should have been able to flatten the curve, identify all positive cases and people can go back to their business as usual, we still are not sure if the shutdown will extend beyond the initial two weeks. Other nations have been on it for months and aren’t sure of when life will return to normal.

As an employer or employee, a function head or a team member,  this cannot be easy on anyone. If you’re wondering if you will get paid at the end of this month or worried about how to pay your staff, your fears are valid.

Nigeria does not have an adequate social welfare system to take care of its people. Your rent will still be due when it ought to be – regardless of how your finance has been impacted by the pandemic. You and yours still need to eat and the cost of staple foods has skyrocketed,

For those of us who still have to go to work (essential workers), there’s the fear that you are putting yourself at risk daily. There’s the fear that you’re exposing your loved ones by exposing yourself. You’re conflicted between duty and self-preservation.

In all of this, it’s okay to not be okay.

I don’t have any answers, but here are some tips that might get us through this:

  • Acknowledge the situation for what it is. It’s totally out of anyone’s control; we are all just trying to find our way through it. Nobody has it figured out, including those sharing beautiful videos.
  • Keep a healthy mind, read and meditate. Your mind is your greatest asset, so feed it with positive thoughts, books, and meditation.
  • Rest, relax, unwind, play. Listen to music and see some movies.
  • Talk to someone – a therapist, trusted friend or family. Just stay connected
  • Exhale: There’s are lots of content out there for entertainment, pick and choose what works for you and lose yourself in it for a while.
  • Strategise for a comeback: The lockdown will be lifted eventually. Make plans to resume your normal routines, prepare for post-COVID-19.
  • Learn a new skill: You can learn any and everything online and some are free. Use your data wisely and upskill yourself.
  • Eat healthily and drink water: Adding weight is a major concern in this period. Lol. Eat healthily, practice social distancing from your fridge (or the kitchen). Drink water, not sugary or alcoholic drinks, exercise and generally try to stay active. Don’t be a couch or bed potato (like me on days when I don’t go to work). Haha.
  • Stay healthy through this period, wash and sanitise your hands, don’t touch your face, don’t self-medicate.
  • Stay home if you don’t absolutely need to go out. Don’t spread the disease further, help by not pressuring an already strained/ inadequate health system. The disease doesn’t spread – we spread it

Special thanks to our health workers; from the security personnel to the janitors to the admin staff, doctors, nurses, etc. We see you, we appreciate you. Our appreciation also goes to other members of society working to keep the world going at this time – the food and pharmaceutical manufacturing and trading businesses, the supermarkets and street shops, the fast-food restaurants and the roadside buka. The downstream petroleum products, the law enforcement agents – we see you all, we appreciate you.

Article originally published on Bellanaija.com

Social Distancing? What’s that?

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As the world navigates its way through the coronavirus pandemic, there are a few words that have become buzz words in a bid to prevent the further spread of the virus: there’s social distancing, tele-commuting (working from home) hand wash, sanitizer, etc.; previously existing terms, products and practices but magnified by the virus. What’s even more interesting is that some of the ways to protect ourselves are ‘basic hygeine’ practices, which we have ignored over the years because- something must kill a man or germs cannot kill a Nigerian.

It’s become current practice to wash our hands at least every hour for about 20 seconds with soap. For a people who most walk out of a toilet without washing their hands- it’s certainly taking some getting used to. Let’s not get started on the sanitisers- something previously thought to be used by the germophobes and those who are just ‘extra‘ have now become mainstream and common place. Everyone; male and female are carrying their little jars of sanitizer and covering our entire existence with the blood– sorry- anti-bacterial sanitisers. We are submitting to temperature checks at various locations and all round just trying to be careful not to expose ourselves to the virus- because, remember; everything in Nigeria will kill you– like Ayo Sogunro says.

So, we’re learning and evolving. I feel like we should be grateful to the virus for enforcing or embedding good hygiene. There’s always an upside to this things. The one precaution we haven’t been able to imbibe however, is social distancing. Ki lo’n je be? I doubt if you can literally translate that into any Nigerian language. It’s so un-Nigerian. How can you ask us to practice social distance when our very existence depends on our communal relationships? What is social distancing: we need to avoid: group gatherings, sleep overs (and other gum-body activities), play dates, concerts, etc.

However, in situating all this into our circumstances, we need to include hugging and other gum-body activities on this list.  But,…. Covid-19 will go, and when it’s time to pay school fees, uncle Bolaji will remember I rejected his handshake because- social distancing! Or big mummy will forever hold a grudge because I flinched and moved a few steps back when she tried to pull my cheek fondly- which equals me saying she has coronavirus! Or, when I send my asoebi to my aunty, she will remember how I rebuffed her hug in the name of social distancing? Let’s not even get started with the pervs who are constantly touchy-feely because- as Africans we love to show love.

The wahala coronavirus will cause will transcend our collective health, health infrastructure, the economy and even affect our personal relationships. I’m sure most clerics have had to really rehearse not asking people to touch their neighbor’s in any form over the past few weeks.

I saw a video which explained social distancing and how it stems the spread of diseases- the illustration with the burning match sticks- my first thought was rara, this match stick isn’t Nigerian. It would have run into the fire if it were- either in a bid to save its loved ones or in a bid to get first hand gist to share. While the latter is fast becoming a societal problem, the former is the very structure upon which our society is built. Eniyan laso mi– literal meaning: people are my covering– our strength is in our network. Even our people are constantly rising above the limitations of the nation- Nigerians as a collective are arguably greater than Nigeria the country.

So how do you want to teach us social distancing? You want to teach an old dog new tricks? When we have our religions, herbs, and the fact that very little thrives in Nigeria- diseases inclusive. After all, our weather is too hot for it to survive or Africans cannot get the virus and other such tales that have been disproven.

Las las, this too will pass, but we need to ensure we don’t destroy our relationships before it passes, right? Let’s not peddle fear and destroy ourselves before the disease gets to us, right?

Guess what? Maybe this is a good thing. We all need to learn to love from a distance. Take this as a lesson and perhaps learn to be less in people’s personal space. Doable?

It has to be, because as we have learnt- the virus is still contagious when the carrier is asymptomatic. There goes your excuse of- but he/she isn’t sick.

Truth is we need to situate what we’re used to versus what we need to do to ensure this virus and other communicable diseases doesn’t continue to spread, because for us- prevention will always be better than cure. Let each do a frank assessment of our health infrastructure and contemplate if it can withstand a viral outbreak. We haven’t eradicated malaria, it’s now coronavirus!

Prevention is key! I’m repeating it for those at the back. We all learnt that in primary school. We need to follow the preventive measures as advised by the public health specialists- wash our hands frequently and thoroughly with soap, in the absence of soap; use an alcohol based hand sanitizer; cough and sneeze into a disposable tissue or your elbow; if you’re sick, please go to a hospital; avoid high traffic and public areas, and please maintain some distance.

Article originally published on Bellanaija.com.

Starting A Side Hustle, Here are 5 Sources of Funds

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Some people are multi-talented and as such cannot stick to one job-hustle-duty. Still yet, others are forced to hold multiple jobs of create additional sources of income to supplement their income and meet their living expenses. Whatever your reason may be, the side hustle has become a fixture and norm in our lives today. We live in a world today where not monetizing your passion is very detrimental. Cue in the side hustle. What makes a side hustle peculiar is the fact that it’s run alongside your day job or main hustle. Its main aim is either to supplement income or to fuel a passion. Regardless of its reason; the side hustle like every business venture needs money is to thrive.

Sourcing for capital is a pain, particularly in Nigeria where you have to go through hoops with the banks and the interest rate is KILLING! There are some other sources of funds though, and regardless of what stage your business is at: Seed stage (start-up phase) or growth stage (scale an existing business); cash is important.

In order to ensure you don’t inadvertently kill your business with a cash injection from an unwise or expensive source, here are a few pointers on sources of funds to fuel your side hustle or business.

  • Savings

A large proportion of businesses in Nigeria are funded from personal savings. However, DO NOT INVEST ALL YOUR SAVINGS in your side hustle. Being that our society doesn’t have the safety net available in developed countries by way of health insurance, etc. It is advisable that you ALWAYS have back-up funds for emergencies, so you cannot afford to invest all of your savings in a business. Particularly because there’s a risk as with all business ventures, it can go south. Savings is however an interest free, stress free means of cash inflow.

My advice though is to treat whatever funds you inject into your business as an investment. Have a payback/ dividend plan, treat it as business funds and ALWAYS ensure you keep your personal funds separate from the business funds.  

  • Family and friends

Another source of funds is your family and friends. This source of funds will most likely be low-interest or interest free. However, as with all sources of income, we need to be careful as to the terms of repayment. Do not promise and unachievable payback period as that would have ruined the relationship. Do not also take your family and friends for granted; be honorable. And if they would rather treat the funds as investment for equity- be smart and business minded. Don’t be sentimental. Don’t sign over shares in your company for less than its market value due to sentimentality. And….. My personal favorite; always include a buy-back clause with every equity transaction.

  • Customers

Your customers are your cheapest source of funds. If you have customers willing to pay upfront for goods and services; that’s a great way to fund your business. Reputation however is everything. Do not accept payment for goods and/or services which you are unable to deliver. With Social media, there is no hiding place for bad service. You can find your business in ruins due to one bad customer review.

  • Grants

They are a number of local and international organisations willing to provide grants to SMEs. Do your research and apply accordingly. Some are grants with no refund needed, while others are meant to be refunded. Whichever you get, do ensure you read the terms and conditions and abide by them strictly. You won’t want your budding business to be associated with an organisation of questionable character, will you?  

  • Loans or equity

These can be bank or VC loans or investors funding your business in exchange for equity. With these, you have to be really smart and have a professional look over the terms and conditions. Even if you are one yourself, there is the value in having an independent agent look over the terms to ensure they are fair. Your sentimentality might cloud your objectivity, your desperation and passion might also cloud your objectivity. Have a professional look over T’s & C’s. Ensure it’s not a cash injection that may end up crippling the business.

Beyond the 5 options identified above, there may be some other funding options available to you. What’s important is that regardless of your source of funds, if there are conditions; ensure it’s looked over by a lawyer, to ensure its fairness and that it will stand the highest legal scrutiny.

Also, like I said above, if for any reason cash is being exchanged for equity; always include a buy back clause lest your company ends up in another’s hands against your will.    

As the year ends, some of us are already thinking and documenting our plans for 2020 and beyond (#teamresolution), others are making plans on how to scale their business. if your 2020 plan includes starting or scaling a side hustle, this article is for you. I will probably share another article on how to merge a main and side hustle seamlessly sometime in the future.

Asides the sources identified above, are there other sources of funds open to SMEs, please share with us.

Image credit: Google.com

Black Friday: Don’t Go Broke Over Sales

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Every year, the last Friday in November is Black Friday; and all the stores ‘supposedly’ crash their prices.

Supposedly

Black Friday comes after thanksgiving and with Cyber Monday and Christmas around the corner everyone is in a festive mood- making merry, giving, shopping, etc.

Many have confessed to having bought unnecessary thing in the lure of lowest prices. Many have actually been caught in the frenzy only to realize later it wasn’t actually a good bargain.

Here’s my advice on how to navigate Black Friday, this is also a note to self, lol:”

  1. Make a list of necessary purchases: prior to Black Friday, draw up a list of what you need, and adhere to it religiously. Don’t move a little to the left or right. Don’t add any extras because you have gotten a good bargain on another. All it take is a little deviation and you’re lost down the drain of unnecessary purchases.
  2. Carefully research your purchase: While drawing up your list, ensure you know their prices- pre-sales. That way, you are able to identify what purchases are a save and which isn’t.
  3. Last and most important: Don’t Get Tempted. Do 1 and 2 above and do not get tempted to deviate from your list.

And…….. if you feel like you will be ‘losing out on deals of a lifetime’, remember there’s also Christmas sales around the corner.

Accept Changes and Stop Tracking

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The danger of Ineffective Communication

A colleague (madam) sent me a document which I reviewed, tracking changes. I sent the document back asking that madam review document to see changes I made, accept changes, stop tracking and send back.

Madam reported to our Line Manager, complaining on how nothing she does is ever good enough. On further probing, she cited the last mail I sent and said she had researched the meaning of ‘accept changes and stop tracking’ and it means she isn’t good enough.

After moving past the horror of what search terms could produce such results, our Line Manager had a serious conversation with madam; firstly, she sent out an unformatted document filled with errors, and is now crying foul after some review has been done for her and all she needs do is accept changes and stop tracking. It was clear there were some performance deficiencies such that madam’s feedback couldn’t even be clearly interpreted. Madam was advised to work on self-development which will aid career progression.

The teachable moment for me was that clearly I hadn’t communicated. Yes, there’s the skill deficiency issue, however, I also fell afoul of the biggest communication problem- which is the assumption that communication has taken place – George Bernard Shaw. I assumed I had passed a message, but I had not. In discussing this, I realized this is a very common communication problem.

Often, we find ourselves either speaking over the top of people’s heads with them trying to catch-up or on the flip side having to over-explain. It apparently doesn’t come natural to be able to explain in the right language and right terms such that there’s no question as to the meaning of the message. People and organisations that excel skill have had to hone the skill. However, it is an important skill nonetheless, as a lot rises and falls on communication- or a lack of it.

Due to my own recent mishap, I had to refresh my communication skills and here are a few pointers to aid official communication:

  1. Always be courteous but concise

Always be your best self; be polite and politically correct. Even with colleagues whom you are familiar with, be polite and with colleagues whom there might be some friction between you- be even more polite.

Eliminate endearments, keep familiarity to the minimum. Eliminate anything that can be misconstrued. Go straight to the point, don’t dither. Always assume the receiver is receiving the message- regardless of the means- in the midst of a very busy work day. Therefore, be brief and concise.

Even when emotions are running high and/or you don’t feel like it, be polite. Learn the art of politely telling people off courteously.

  • Plan

As with everything, planning is important. With official communication, you will need to plan what you want to say; to ensure it’s communicating the right message and it answers most questions that could arise. Planning official communication will ensure you do not have avoidable mistakes, faux pas, or that you aren’t caught unawares. We all have heard the saying ‘whatever you say will be used against you’, we are also familiar with the caveat when we call helpdesk lines that the call is being monitored for ‘training’ purposes. Always have these two statements at the back of your mind when communicating officially.  Don’t wing it. No matter how good an orator you might be, Do NoT Wing IT! Think before you speak.

  • Review for content, context, errors and language

Probably the most important and tiring job we do is revision, its common place to see a document having different editions until the final edition (well, final for the time being). This happens in order to ensure that we get the content right such that it’s relevant to the targeted audience at and that time. Imagine sending out a beautifully crafted holiday email after the holiday!

Content and context are important because therein lies the meat of the message. Language of delivery is also important- this has to do with both language and lingo. If the message is in English but the audience only speaks Swahili, you will need to translate. If you are speaking legalese terms to a room of Pharmacists; you will need to break down certain terms. Same way a sentence might suffice for a PhD holder, but you may need a paragraph of more sentences to explain to O’level holders.

Ensure your message has the right content and situate it within the right context.

  • Put yourself in the audience’s shoes

Sometimes, a lot of times, you need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and pull off yours. Reason is- you the originator of the message probably have some background such that with just a few choice words you would understand the message, majority of your audience might not be at the same level of comprehension. So, you need to tailor the message such that the audience will understand and it conveys the intended message. 

  • Always ask for feedback

Feedback is the food of champions. For every official communication, where its most likely that not all of the recipients will understand the message, you need to always provide room for questions, feedback, or in a one-on-one scenario you could always ask the other party to explain what has been communicated in his/her own words. What is important is that with each mode of communication ALWAYS ask for feedback. Never assume the message has been lucid enough; never assume communication has taken place. Always confirm.

With official communication- verbal or written, always assume Big Brother is watching, always assume someone is listening, blind-copied or the email will be forwarded or someone is recording the conversation and if you will need to explain it; Do NoT Say IT! Do Not Write IT!

I Just Want to be CHAIRMAN!

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A Guide to Human Resourcing for the Startup and SME

During an interview, one of the questions posed to the candidate was to explain- in his own words the relevance of his course of study in a Manufacturing company. In other words, how relevant is his schooling to our operations.

The candidate- a graduate of Business Administration- in explaining said: a Business Administration graduate can work in any business, as they are trained to manage businesses.

While the rest of us had the ‘why’ question on our lips, one of the panelists drew his attention to the fact that he had previously said Accounting was his least favorite course as ‘he doesn’t find it interesting’. Accounting is however key in managing a business, so how do you manage a business if you cannot understand Finance.

His response was he will hire a ‘strong’ accountant to handle the finance bit.

This got the panelists laughing and we joked that his management style will be to hire people to do the work, while he will be Chairman!

We moved on from that interview but then it got me thinking: there are two ways of analyzing the young man’s ideology. Firstly; there’s the school of thought that believes to effectively manage a business you have to be able to understand finance and most of every other aspects of the business. This is both very true and very right. You need to be able to understand the numbers and what they mean for your business. This is truer if you are running a start-up or small business; because in the early days you might not have the necessary funds to hire the needed Finance professional- or to outsource. You may need to wing it for a while and if you are unable to build a simple cash-flow system or understand how best to utilise your funds, your business may be in trouble.

On the flip side; there’s nothing that says you as a business leader or a founder needs to be able to do everything: finance inclusive. The rule of thumb for resources is to: buy (hire), borrow (outsource- in-plant or consultant), or collaborate. For a going concern with funds, all of these options are available, but for a young business there are slight modifications which can still work for you. The following are some of the options available to start-up.

  1. Of course there’s always the option to hire. At the early stages you may not be able to afford an experienced hire which equals expensive. You can however hire someone relatively affordable but good (you however either need to know what good looks like to deduce someone is good or you work with a recruitment consultant to source for the best candidates within your budget).
  2. A second alternative is to outsource – there are many affordable but standard financial institutions who can handle even the basics of your operations leaving you free to do the creative- which is most likely your forte.
  3. Collaboration is similar to outsourcing- this is collaboration between 2 firms where both might exchange services. Pretty much like trade by barter- a cleaning services firm can exchange its services with an accounting firm for a duration. A caveat on this is- as with all contracts, both parties must be clear as to expectations and where possible (but strongly recommended); have an independent law firm draw up the contract such that it’s fair and binding.

Another way you can collaborate is to partner with a co-founder who has the desired skills and is willing to perhaps provide services in exchange for some stake in the business. Same caveat as the above applies- everything needs to be neat and tidy contractually such that neither party is left holding an empty basket in future.

  • A fourth option is to train; working with the available resource and providing training to bring the resource up-to-speed. This builds some form of loyalty; your people grow and develop with you. A downside to this is; unless the people are aggressive about their own personal development, they may not develop beyond the training which you provide; which might not be good for your business.

While all of these are available options, it doesn’t negate the fact that as a business leader- be it a start-up or a Plc.; you cannot get away from understanding some Finance, Law, HR, Operations, Business Development, etc. Creativity alone isn’t enough. Neither is it enough to throw passion into the mix. You cannot be creative out of a labor law issue if you do not understand the tenets of labor laws or have an adviser who does.

There are a few incubator labs and boot camps for start-ups associated with certain reputable organisations from which you can learn some of the rudiments of running a business. You can also take advantage of a mentor-advisory scheme when growing your business, be mentored by someone who has walked the path you are on now and can guide you through. Another option is to maintain contacts with peers who are on the same path as you are; you all can help each other navigate the obstacle course which is entrepreneurship. There are many options available to you, explore them and toe the path which works best for you. What’s important is to ensure you aren’t going about it blindly.  

Are you loyal or laid-back?

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A lot of us- and organisations place emphasis on longevity of service- attrition rate is built into the HR department’s KPI. Exiting staff are seen as being disloyal and staff who have been with an organisation for years are termed ‘loyal’.

The objective of this article isn’t to hypothesize on their loyalty or otherwise- well, maybe not in the way we would expect, it is rather a call for introspection on the employee’s part.

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Are you with your current organisation because you have keyed into the organisation’s objective and see yourself as a co-traveller on its journey or are with the organisation because you haven’t found something better and or cannot be bothered to search for a job?

Earlier in this year- 2019, a colleague and I had a conversation around work- we established we had learnt a lot in our current organisation and were developing even as our career was growing. However, a burning question was- do we know enough to thrive in the field of HR- regardless of which organisation we were practicing in, or do we know just enough to thrive in our current organisation?

That is a question anyone who is serious about career development and growth should ask themselves.

We ended the conversation with a resolution to seek for ways to test our knowledge and experience- apply and interview for positions to ascertain if our knowledge and experience can get us better offers or if we were just ‘local champions’.

It’s been a few months and a few tests and we have embraced the experience as learning opportunities. Areas of improvement have been identified and are being worked on. It is important to note that we are both still with our organisations as the objective wasn’t to move, but to identify areas of improvement.

This however isn’t a method I would widely recommend lest we be tempted as in the famous words ascribed to Babatunde Raji Fashola- Former Governor of Lagos state, Nigeria (2007 – 2015)- ‘May our loyalty never be tested.’ But then, maybe it should! Perhaps to sieve out the loyal from the laid-back.

It has been proven that only a minor percentage of the Hi-Po’s start and end their career with an organisation. This in my opinion is attributable to the fact that the top is narrower than the bottom. For example- if there are 4 Hi-Po’s from a class of 10 hired on the same day in different fields. Because of the conditions for career progression which can be roughly summarized to be- the individual has to display the skills and behavior for the next level and there has to be room for progression people will naturally drop off as they go higher and of course it’s narrower on top. There can only be so much room for progression- eventually some of your Hi-Po’s will need to leave to excel elsewhere. This exit will be termed by most to be disloyalty and the laid-back staff, content to continue doing the same thing over the years and progressing slowly will be deemed loyal.

My thought is- we need to get to a place where we can accurately measure results. Did Mr. A achieve more in 6 months than Mr. B in 5 years? If the answer to that question is yes, then Mr. A has done the organisation more good than Mr. B.

Or perhaps, Mr. A is just loyal to aggressively growing his career and slow progress isn’t an option. There is absolutely nothing wrong in being loyal to yourself, like it’s said; we are all CEOs of ‘Me Incorporated’ and we need to run our lives like a business ensuring we are yielding fruits- returns to our stakeholders. Lol.

As employees, I believe- this is perhaps because I am not yet up there having to defend attrition rate; however; I do believe it is better to give your best within a defined period, learn; soak-up as much knowledge as possible, and when the time comes for you to leave- leave on a good note, with your head held high. This I believe is better than making up the numbers and doing the bare minimum under the guise of ‘loyalty’.

The question for every employee today is- are you loyal or laid-back?

It’s Coming For Us All

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metoo

My colleagues and I were discussing the spate of sexual abuse allegations and we are outraged at the perversity of the situation. All in the room were very righteous in our anger; we couldn’t believe how the ones charged with guiding; protecting and leading us are the ones abusing us.

Then a wrench was thrown in the conversation and the question was asked- you know we have these abusers among us? Right here in this office. Or did we build a special screening into our recruitment process to weed out the abusers? Then the conversation dwindled, because we could suddenly see the other four fingers pointing back at us either as the abusers or the enablers.

The widespread perversity of these allegations leads one to the conclusion that we are all sitting on our pedestal because the book of remembrance hasn’t gotten to our page!

For a people as moralistic as Nigerians, the number of sexual harassment stories coming out of us is alarming!

For a people as moralistic as we are, the number of corruption and fraud cases is alarming!

Or, should be alarming! Perhaps we are the ones making a bigger deal of it that it is.

From the father to the brother, to the sister, uncle, aunt, driver, Teacher, Pastor, Imam, Doctor… Tales abound of abuse. It’s so bad that we have internalized it and it has become…. Normal.

Yes, Normal!

What do you call something that is so pervasive and widespread in the society? What do you call something that with every pair, one has been a victim, witness or abuser?

What do you call this if not normal?

Perhaps we have it wrong and it’s actually not a crime or sin and is just normal. Like a rite of passage, the norm that everyone must suffer sexual abuse at one point or the other in their life. Right? Maybe if we normalize it we will stop forming all the faux outrage. With each story that comes to light, we shout and scream and rage, and tomorrow, it comes for someone else.

It’s coming for us all! Yes it is. As enablers, as abusers it’s coming for us all. Because we turned a blind eye, because we covered it up, because we suppressed it; we emboldened the abuser and they continued their spate of abuse. And the abused becomes the abuser, perpetuating that culture of abuse,  the witness also went on to commit his/her own perversion- afterall uncle lagbaja got away with it, why won’t I?

We have a culture of sexual abuse!

There, I said it. Can we accept it and move on? It’s a culture as ingrained as our cultural attires and food, it’s a culture as old as time.

I can hear the rape apologists taking up their arms, I can hear the ‘moralistic Nigerians’ clearing their throats to refute this claim, I can hear the voices saying but it’s not just in Nigeria! I can hear them all, but I can also hear the voices of the abused- and what’s funny about the voices of the abused is- some of them have been conditioned to believe it’s the normal, it’s their fault, their voices are united with the voices of the apologists and this only serves to strengthen my point- We Have a Culture of Sexual Abuse!

When Ochanya’s story broke, it was befuddling to read that the extended family wanted to suppress the case. When Busola’s story broke, many- till today, made excuses for the abuser. When Ondo state opened a sexual offenders register and commenced the naming and shaming of sexual offenders, it was cringe worthy to see the number of people who were more sympathetic towards the family of the abuser than the abused. When the #sexforgrades story broke, many as usual blamed the exploited girls. Have you seen how they dress? Even a saint will be tempted! These girls offer themselves to the lecturers for grades! On and on the excuses go…

I could go on and on citing examples, it’s all cringe worthy and makes one just want to bathe self in a mixture of hot salt water and bleach, in a bid to get clean of the bile we spew. Or, to bury ones head in the sand for the reality of this is too far reaching.

The reality is- these people, these abusers are us. Your partner whom you can vouch for his/her purity is/ was someone’s abuser. Your parent whom you believe hung the stars is harassing the office cleaner, secretary, junior colleague, contractor. Your sibling who will do anything for you abused the child in the neighboring flat. Your friend, your ride or die, who says all the right things and joins you in taking up arms against the sexual abuser is equally guilty. These abusers are us!

Ex-colleagues from one of the big four accounting firms were reminiscing on the escapades of their ex-bosses and some conditions for progression and my eyes literally bulged out of its sockets! Huh? All-of-them sleek suit wearing, polished people are also demanding sexual favors?

The day the book of remembrance will get to that page………

Someone asked why all of this are coming to light now, is it a new culture, a sign of the times?

The answer to that is an emphatic NO! It’s not coming to light because it’s a recent trend, rather it’s coming to light now because we are SPEAKING UP now. Like someone said, we didn’t inherit our mother’s silence and timidity.

And for those who have a problem with all of the sexual abuse coming to light, I hope it isn’t because you have skeletons you would rather remain buried? Because if you do, berra be prepared, It’s coming for us all, ensure you aren’t on the wrong side of a #metoo campaign!

Article originally published on bellanaija.com

The More Things Change…….

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As a child, my uncle taught me how to compare price and value through different periods and across currencies. He said to pick a relatively stable currency- the US Dollar or the British Pounds and compare value. i.e. a product of service which cost N50 in say 1990, the value today will be determined by getting the value of N50 in dollars in 1990, converting that dollar value to Naira today. Not sure if that is a universally acceptable standard of conversion but that lesson has stuck such that I always find myself converting price to Dollars to really ascertain the value of a product or service. My regular vendors know already that I always ask them what the dollar price is for every commodity/ service. I will find out the dollar price of a product, add some for shipping and profit and if the difference between that and your selling price is still too much I will call you out for attempting to rip me off. (Before we are tempted to get into the Buy-Naija-To-Grow-The-Naira conversation, honestly ask yourself what percentage of goods we use isn’t imported. We are an import dependent economy and as such should always be concerned with how our Naira values against the stronger currencies. In any case, that’s not the purpose for this article).

Sometime in 2015, I got a job in Lagos that paid N210k. Wasn’t bad for an entry level job, 210k was a thousand dollars at the time. Unfortunately, in a few short months, my salary commenced a downward slide, it depreciated and kept on depreciating until it got to this current sustained plateau; which isn’t where it started though! Sometime in 2017 it got as bad as 420 dollars (in Naira of course) when the dollar exchanged for N500 to a dollar. Standard of living fell, I was poorer through no fault of mine, the economy just worsened with each passing day. (Before they come for me and try to make it as though I’m referring to luxury items and the likes of imported rice, chicken, seedless grapes (thank you Tolu Ogunlesi), etc. It’s not about that. We all know the basics like pineapple, ogbono seeds, even garri are now imported. Prices have skyrocketed, income keeps declining. How are the people expected to survive?

naira-dollar-exchange-rate-1

Fast forward to 2018, through a few promotions and compensation reviews (my organisation was also affected by the economic downturn and had to constrict salary bands); I’m not yet where I was three years ago. To earn the same salary I was offered in 2015, I would have to earn about N360k- but I’m not there yet. So, although I’ve moved up on the Naira income band, it’s been a downward move on the dollar income band, with expenditure on the upward slide on the dollar band.

The economy, ideally should reflect our collective efforts as a people, but in truth is largely dependent on the actions of a few- those in government and the people they have appointed to steer the economy (because we continue to largely be a mono-product economy, despite all white noise to the contrary). And we all know how well those in Government and their hirelings have steered the economy.

So, to repeatedly read on the news in these past few weeks that we are back to the same politicking and politricking witnessed three to four years ago, with the same politicians cross carpeting and/or realigning with no evidence of any change is just sad. The populace are cheering when we need to ask ourselves the hard-mercenary question: what’s the value of this drama? In hard currency! Like the recent bank ad wars; how did it translate to value for the customers? Answer is; nothing changed. Will XYZ moving to 123 party make for better governance? If no, then its just comic relief, the kind which leaves a depressing aftertaste.

Tunde Leye

These guys (and ladies)- who represent about 1% of Nigeria’s 180million people are just sorting themselves out without any care for the common man- whom they are supposed to be representing, and…. we are entertained! Cheering them on and picking sides, arguing based on our (current) god-fathers and patron. To what end? What change/ benefit did the fence jumping antics of old translate to? (recall when Dino Melaye and co had to scale fences to get into the National Assembly premises) What’s the value of the change received so far? What benefit did we derive from demonizing the hazel-eyed minister? How did the change mantra translate to more money in our pockets? Better infrastructure? Better equipped schools, or even more children in school? Better access to funding for entrepreneurs? We unraveled the snake eating up funds in Jamb, social media was awash with the stories, we’ve put it out that Jamb now remits more into the TSA, but how has that translated to an improved education system?

e be like say- tuface idibia

The answer is: nothing has changed. Rather it has worsened. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is not about pointing accusing fingers, this isn’t about ethnic or party lines or affiliations. It’s a question of: how have we fared? Let’s have a look at a few examples that will help explain it:

  1. We all know at least one person that has lost a job due to the organisation down-sizing or closing. How are those families supposed to survive on a reduced or no-income? We have become the poverty capital of the world. What this means is we have more people sliding into the poverty bracket daily. Let that sink in.

The more people who are out of jobs, the more people we have tending to crime. It’s not an excuse, it’s a basic fact of life; hunger, need, leads even the most honorable to misbehave.

  1. Canada (and the western world) has become the ‘migration destination’ of our people. Everyone is migrating and rightly so! Abi? They cannot come and die. Let’s explore how this migration affects Nigeria- serious brain drain! A colleague joked: the only doctors left in the hospitals are the ones who haven’t gotten Canadian visas! As it stands today, we have outsourced healthcare to religious bodies and other such miracle centres.

The hospitals, parastatals, banks, startups, conglomerates, etc. people are leaving. In droves! How does it affect us? Decrease in quality of service, decrease in quality of deliverables- your employees are using work hours to fill out visa applications. The ones that are left behind are thoroughly demotivated. But we are happy, right? After all, it could be worse; so and so could have been president and sell us to Cameroun and other such stories.

  1. The third point I would like to point out is that the world is watching. While we are being entertained by the antics of our politicians, the world is watching us and making decisions on the degree of our foolishness. Very embarrassing.

The investor you are courting reads in the news of the traffic gridlock in Lagos- which the government has been unable to provide a lasting solution to for years, and he/she is asking himself if you are wise investment decision because of your operating environment. How productive will the staff who spend half their day in traffic be? If you are now unfortunate to have offices in Apapa and its environs- don’t bother. Because they will ask themselves how people and products will come to you and how the difficulty in navigation will affect product/service availability and pricing.

Your investors read of the mayhem the cattle herders bandits are causing across the nations and how it has affected farmlands. Do you think he/she will be keen on investing in your agricultural endeavor?

 

  1. The current difficulty with the PVC registration to me is also a sign of a failed system. We are expected to be at the registration centres as early 5.00am to put our name on a list, then wait around all day and you still might not get to register on that day. Bear in mind, that the information you are required to provide is similar to that provided for your international passport, national ID card, BVN, sim registration, etc. we keep re-providing this information and someone hasn’t had the bright idea that we can synchronise information? We could synchronise all of the previously collected information and have a portal where you can update details like current residential address- make life easier for the citizenry? Possible? Na! how else would we appreciate INEC but through the rigor and difficulty with which it takes to get things done. We are stuck in a rut where we only appreciate something based on the difficulty with which we got it. Cue the- nothing good comes easy people! #FrontlinersinthesufferingOlympics!

I could go on and on, listing the ways the polity has been negatively affected by these present and past politicians, who lack foresight or simply the will to do that which is right. This article probably won’t end. These guys will continue to treat the polity with disdain and we will continue to be a country where anything goes if we do not rise up and demand for better governance.

Here we are in 2018, a good time to remember Tuface’s e be like say.  It’s that time again when they come to woo us with promises that will never materialize. To entertain us with the theatrics which always characterize the electioneering season. Should we continue to allow ourselves to be entertained and perhaps to receive the crumbs that may flow as campaign funds? (did I hear a God forbid?) Is that ideal behavior today- 2018?

Now isn’t the time to be entertained with their antics, this isn’t the time to argue what party is better at corruption or the disregard of the rule of law. Now is the time to demand better from those whom we have elected to rule us. Emphasis on rule us, not rule over us.

office of the citizen

In addition to that, we also need to get involved, participate. At the party level, the electoral level. Participate, not in looking to line your pockets, but in looking to better the economy. It’s not about joining one cool kids movement that you don’t know the purpose. Let’s be as selfish as the politicians have proven themselves to be, but let’s be selfish for the common interest; we need to demand for policies that will better majority of the people and not a few. We need to transit from praise singers and bag carriers to active citizens. These politicians are not entertainers, we have Nollywood for that (like Peter Obi said). Its time they stopped these theatrics and got down to the significant business for which they were elected; which is governance.

Someday in the future, I hope to write on how we need to pay attention to people in governance at any level, particularly the state and federal legislature, because therein lies the true power of governance.

Until then, we must be committed to real change and not buzz words. We need to fully occupy the office of the citizen. Because we must.

Brand Review: Zaron Cosmetics

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I feel like I’ve done Zaron cosmetics a lot of disservice. I had used their Oil Control Mineral Loose powder sometime in the past and it was ok, but of course I keep going back to my HG powder (BlackOpal loose powder in Neutral Light). Their lipstick pen in Muse (nude) is also a favorite of mine and yet I hadn’t posted a review. (I’m sorry Zaron).

zaron-logo-web

Zaron is a Nigerian owned brand and one for the brands I identified as I try to #buyNaijatogrowtheNaira. Sometime in March, I walked into their Ikoyi store and bought their Face Primer, Healthy Glow Liquid Foundation, Loose Powder, Maxi-blend Compact Powder and ofcourse the lipstick pen (there was the buy one get one free promo at the time of purchase). I have had a few repeat purchases, loved most of the products I have tried, particularly that the products are non-comedogenic and acnegenic. So, here’s my honest review of their products:

  1. Healthy Glow Liquid Foundation

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I’m currently on my second tube of foundation- the matte variant; and I’ve got to say I’m loving it! It has SP4 30, its medium to full coverage, very buildable, it does do a passably good job of staying matte (although not transfer resistant) and its VERY PIGMENTED! I feel like that’s its greatest quality. All in all, I will give it a 4/5. My only grouse is that it doesn’t stay matte all day, but then- which product stays matte all day in our weather?

  1. Oil Control Mineral Loose Powder

Zaron Loose powderThis is a good setting powder, it also has SPF, is medium coverage, very very pigmented. Everytime I applied the powder over the foundation, I felt my face was SO bright! I tried using a shade darker and still same difference. I just gave up and went back to my fave powder. I tried blending shades, still couldn’t get my perfect shade. Otherwise; good powder. This gets a 3/5 from me though. Maybe cause its mineral powder and I so badly wanted to switch to mineral powder and not being able to find my shade was a disappointment.

  1. Face Primer

FACE-PRIMER-2-300x300This was the product I didn’t really like. My regular primer combines both the priming effect and mattifying effect, this primer did not. Matter of fact, I didn’t see much of a difference between when I wore foundation and powder alone and when I wore the primer. I’m going to pass on rating this product.

 

  1. Lip Stick Pen

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A bit of a background to my love for lipstick pens: I haven’t had much luck with lipsticks- I like a matte finish, but all the mattes I have tried are always too dry; never blending, be it a tube lipstick or a liquid to matte lipstick; just hasn’t worked for me. However, lipstick pen do work for me. Not just Zaron’s, most lipstick pens do work for me.

I tried Zaron’s lipstick pen and I love it. My only grouse is that it doesn’t last. But it takes a lot for lipcolour to last on my lips, I’m forever pursing my lips or biting it. So, this also gets a 4/5 from me.

  1. Maxi-blend Compact Powder

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This purchase wasn’t for me but for my mom. She loved it and I loved it on her. Its medium coverage, not streaky or magnify fine lines, long wear and passably matte. I will give it a 4/5 as well.

PERFECT-FINISH--300x300

So, while I’m on my Zaron love, the product I would love to try is: Zaron Perfect Finish Spray. This is what Zaron says about it: Instant moisturizing and relaxing mist that freshens and treats the skin with its ultra-fine micro droplets. It’s light comfortable and sets all types of makeup. Prolonging wear even under extreme conditions. I have never used a finishing spray, would probably get one with my next purchase. If you have used this product, please let me know how it panned out for you, or if there’s a better finishing spray out there, please share in the comments section. And of course, you need to tell us what Zaron products you have used and your opinion.

XOXO

Chinma

PS: This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are mine. You can shop Zaron products here or at any of their nationwide stores. 

You Are Single, What Do You Do With Your Money?

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SingleI needed to process a benefit for a colleague, the company in recognizing the difficult economic terrain had amended the rules to indicate that an employee could either get that particular benefit as immediate cash or deferred benefit. I reached out to him to confirm his preference and he gave the response 99% of Nigerians will give in the circumstances (myself included)- he would prefer cash. Because he and I had a friendly relationship, I teased him that why not defer it since it wasn’t a lot of money. He insisted it be paid out immediately, he went on to list a few pressing needs that money could sort and ended with: Shey me I don’t have responsibilities yet, and shey I have a sponsor!

This question/ assumption, alongside the- when are you getting married (or whatever variant of the question the interrogator chooses to use) are one of the most frequently asked questions I currently get. In the workplace, at social events, among friends; it’s like everyone not-single keeps asking this question. The ones not asking are thinking it and will ask it one day.

I find it particularly exhausting. Like everytime it comes up, I’m just tired. The reason for this tiredness is; for everyone who asks this question, I scream a mental not you too! Or another one bites the foolishness dust! And I sigh. Deeply!

I find it particularly sad (and irritating) that someone will believe that any sane person, in this Lagos (regardless of marital status) will choose to put his or herself through the torture of waking up at an ungodly hour everyday- every blessed work day, navigate Lagos traffic, endure shitty less than stellar bosses and work colleagues; because of fulfilment, or to keep busy! Doesn’t make a lick of sense. And calls into question your sense of judgement if you hold that opinion. Maybe if I worked in another city I could better understand the logic behind that question and belief, but because we (my interrogators and I) work in Lagos, I cannot understand it. No matter how much I try.

The logic is, because you are single you don’t have any responsibilities, abi? Single working-class folks are just piling up the money, no responsibilities. Yeah right! It’s even worse when you are female, guys are given a somewhat free pass- because its believed they probably have a girlfriend(s) whom they foot their bills (the belief that men foot their lady’s bill is just bullshit an empty belief. Where are the men who supposedly foot their women’s bills- or even like 50% of the bills (and I’m not referring to transactional relationships)? I haven’t met them and no one around me has! But that’s a rant for another day).

There’s also the ones that will come to borrow money from you and get upset when you decline. That one is just plain old bad behavior.  But then, you’re single; what do you do with your money? Why won’t you have money when I need to borrow it?

Let’s take a step back before I totally go off; while I agree the married person has more responsibilities in that the family is bigger (current nuclear and previous nuclear family), do we stop to think, just for a moment that; perhaps, just maybe the reason the single person is still single is because- current responsibilities will not allow for added responsibilities? Possible? That’s a thought though.

So, you ask the married person for his/her responsibilities- and they always without fail mention their parents and/or siblings in addition to their spouse and children. The question now is- did you just start caring for your parents and siblings when you got married? If no, then perhaps you shouldn’t be asking the single person what he/she does with his/her money. Shouldn’t the answer to that be very easily derived?

A thought does occur to me though, maybe I shouldn’t be looking at this lapse in memory as a single event but should look at it from the perspective that we Nigerians have very short memories and can believe the most outrageous things. All it takes for something to become authentic is for us to hear it being repeated often or repeated by someone we believe knows better (an influencer- off and on-line).   Even when someone is trying to rejig our memory and to remind us of past events that negate our current conclusions, or to logically point out another perspective, we adamantly refuse to reason because it is said or Lagbaja said so. Case in point- pre and during 2015 elections. Its 2018 and some of us have still not regained our reasoning.

Or perhaps I should situate this question (and other such) in terms of the fact that we are naturally nosy people who never mind our business. Maybe if I did, I won’t find it so sad or irritating. With us, if it isn’t this one thing it’s another, we are always all up in other people’s business at the detriment of ours. It’s a proven fact that Nigerians are very good at putting out fires in other people’s fields while our kitchen is on fire. And when someone points out that our kitchen is on fire, we deny with our last breath, even when the smoking kitchen is obvious for all to see; our kitchen isn’t on fire. Case closed. That’s our story. Or do you want to argue with the owner of the house about the state of his/her house?

Face_With_Rolling_Eyes_Emoji

 

To avoid being on the giving or receiving end of offense, we should all learn to mind our business. Might be difficult, particularly for those of us for which it will be like learning new skills in old age, but it must be done. It isn’t my business what I do with my pay- the company which pays me doesn’t ask me what I do with the money they pay me; and that’s because I have worked for the money. Same way you shouldn’t ask me why I am yet to marry or have a child, or get a masters, or go bungee diving, or have a plastic surgery for the heck of it. We should all pay attention to our businesses aka: Mind Your Business! It isn’t that difficult. Abi? How difficult can it be to mind your own business?

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This article was initially published here on BellaNaija.

Photo credit: Dreamstime/BellaNaija

Product Review: Hegai & Esther Photo Perfect Pressed Powder

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Hello everyone and welcome to #BeautyFridays. On the first series this year, I’m going to review Hegai & Esther Photo Perfect Pressed Powder.

H&E pressed powder

You all know I’m a loose powder girl, but this pressed powder like Mac studio fix, I love. Hegai & Esther is a Nigerian brand I stumbled upon sometime late 2016 and fell in love with. Throughout 2017, I used their foundation and reviewed it here

Towards the end of 2017, I decided to take a break from my fave Black Opal Deluxe finishing powder which I mentioned here as one of my fave products of 2016. Matter of fact, that was a mistake, it’s my favorite powder of all times. Though I’m loving the H&E Pressed powder right now.

So, back to how I got to try the powder; I bought the H&E Shine off loose Powder in fade 1 which is actually their lightest shade. The reason for this is my perfect shade of their foundation is somewhere between Mango and Biscuit, and I typically have to blend both shades as one is too dark and the other pasty. On the day I bought the loose powder, I thought: rather than buy 2 foundations and 1 powder, why don’t I get the powder in a lighter shade and foundation in Mango (which is typically for me), cost saving right? Error: it cam out a burnt orange. To compound it the first day I tried it I wore orange. This is a picture of me after I had tried blending with my fave powder.

H&E Loose powder- fade 1

Orange much?

And its not the dress, because I did wear the dress another day and didn’t look orange!

Anyways, I sent the H&E team a complaint mail and they responded. That’s one thing I love about the H&E team; they are very responsive. I was informed it was possibly a case of mismatched undertones and that they would love to swap the product with the new Photo Perfect pressed powder and I could come tot heir office in December to swap.

December was busy for me, and I finally made it down to their office in January (by this time I had won some additional products in an Instagram competition! lol!

See my gift haul below:

H&E Gift Items

Shineoff Loose powder in Deep (I guess this is for contouring), eyebrow stencils, Eyeliner, Bare Neutrals Eye colour, etc. Thank you to H&E!

And here’s the replacement powder:

H&E HC 24

Hegai & Esther Photo Perfect Loose Powder in HC24

For this powder, it was love at first use. It applies like a dream and gives a natural finish, which I love (I’m in my minimalist phase).

 

Product packaging

It came neatly packaged, like all pressed powders. It didn’t have that protective film for the mirror, but it was nicely set with the mirror very clean. This is good.

Application

The product applied beautifully, setting my foundation nicely. It says on the pack that it can be worn with or without foundation (for a light coverage). What I love though is that it can be used for touch ups without a cakey or ashy look.

Price

The website says it retails for N3,500, which puts it in the affordable range.

H&E pressed powder

For now, I’m loving the powder. It’s not matte in the long run, but the color does stay true.

Will I buy again: definitely yes. You can shop H&E products here.

PS: This is not a sponsored post, the brand is just one that has impressed me with their quality, responsiveness and continuous improvement.

Have you used any H&E products, did you like it, please let me know in the comments section.

xoxo chinma

Happy New Year

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Welcome to:

2018

Hope 2017 was good for you? Good or bad; we are in 2018 and there’s a lot to look forward to: brighter future, fulfilled wishes, greater blessings and Russia 2018! lol (you all know I love football tournaments, right?)

So, this year should be the year of no excuses, write down your dreams, make it plain, hold yourself accountable, kick ass this year and here are my wishes for you: may all your wishes be met, may all your dreams come true, may you find that which you seek. Here’s to a greater 2018; have a blast!

xoxo chinma

The Other Woman

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This article was conceived in Lagos traffic. There’s nothing new about Lagos traffic; it’s where talents are developed and lost, and majority of the population waste away, slowly, daily, unknowingly.

The Other Woman, Chinma Eke Blog

So, there I was in home-bound, distracting myself with twitter when I stumbled on an article about the late Princess Diana, and since no article on Princess Diana can be complete without a mention of Camilla Parker Bowles, I also did a quick google search on Camilla. I had always been curious about her and it beat looking out at the sea of cars and wondering why we aren’t yet closer to our destination. I had always thought of Camilla as ‘the other woman’, I bet that’s how most of the world sees her. I think I read somewhere there was a time she was the most hated woman on earth! That evening I tried to read up on the woman for whom Prince Charles was willing to give up the throne, I tried to keep an open mind regardless of my views. I’ve always had this feeling this is not the life she would have chosen, it couldn’t have been easy being the world’s most hated mistress.

I’m staunchly #teammarriage or perhaps #teammonogamy I don’t care if the love is written in the stars by the gods, if they are married; leave them alone! It doesn’t matter if they are reasonable in the marriage, you shouldn’t date them until they decide they want out of the marriage. However, the same me loves the series- Scandal, as a matter of fact I loved it better when Fitz and Mellie were married and Olivia was the other woman. Olivia had gumption, she was the strong ‘single’ lady who could make or break the American presidency; while Mellie, though no push-over was constrained by the ‘Mrs.’ title, I think the script writers didn’t do her character justice.

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Either way and inspite of my love for Olivia Pope, I’m still #teammonogamy! I believe marriage is a binding contract and like all contracts should be adhered to with all parties abiding by its terms. At any time either of the parties chooses or needs to walk away all they have to do is notify the other party, have a conversation and observe the terms and conditions of disengagement. Like an employment contract; it’s unethical to be in full term employment with ABC industries and at the same time employed by XYZ industries. The moment you get the employment with XYZ you must leave ABC. Clean break!

Then I thought of the side hustle, most people have one and it does not actively interfere with their day job. Could the relationship with the mistress be termed ‘the side hustle’? Let’s not go down that lane because then we have to think of the sequence of activities that have to take place for *Chike to move to XYZ. He must apply, attend interviews, negotiate with XYZ, while still at ABC! Now liken that to a marriage, the application and interview process is already termed cheating in my mind. For me, the moment you see the XYZ ad and decide to apply; please let’s have a conversation and agree to part amicably. I cannot come and be thinking you are still on my team while you are testing the waters outside. But then, how can you resign when you aren’t sure you will get the new job or that the terms they will offer will be favorable? Also, you could see an opportunity that doesn’t require your full-time attention and allows you to merge it with your day job successfully without either suffering. There are even cases where the boss and colleagues know of the side hustle and even patronize you- lol, I can’t liken that one to a relationship o! It’s mind boggling; very French!

So, I tried to have this conversation with my friend to be sure I haven’t fallen off the #teammarriage wagon by beginning to understand what drives ‘the side hustle’.  She made matters worse by trying to rationalize why people look outside and the economic importance of ‘the other woman’. She cited the 2014 rom-com: The Other Woman. She was of the opinion that Leslie Mann’s character- Kate didn’t have that extra pizzaz a fine young upwardly mobile man’s wife should have and even her biological children will have cheated on her! In her opinion, it wasn’t all bad; Carly and Amber took off a lot of pressure for Kate, her husband came home happy not snappy, etc. I need new friends!  

The other woman

We did distil that thought though, Kate probably wasn’t like that before marriage, she most likely had the ‘extra’, enough to get herself to the alter. Whatever happened after the vows, in the movie she said she gave up a lot for her husband, but we all saw how it turned out. But why are we like that; very promising before marriage or before we are offered a job but quick to get complacent once we’ve settled in be it at our job, in a relationship, everywhere (happens with the best of us). You know, when that happens; we leave room for another to shine just by standing beside our lack-lustre form be it the other woman or a colleague.

Another argument is that it’s not always about the other woman being better, it just might be that: the heart wants what the heart wants! Lol that could be it right? That might explain why Prince Charles knowing he couldn’t marry Camilla at the time never stopped longing for her even after marrying Princess Diana. If is do say so myself, those two have proved their affection wasn’t just a fluke by having been together these long. (I can’t believe I am understanding their relationship! Where’s my #teammarriage hat)?

I refuse to attempt to understand what drives or fuels ‘the other woman’, it could be love, greed, the wife’s inadequacies or plain old curiosity. Neither can I fathom living with that arrangement, no matter how hard I try (I’m too selfish to understand the concept of sharing in the context of marriage). I was once tempted, guy was tempting for days, we gelled, within a day of meeting him it was like we had known each other forever; finished off each other’s sentences, had the same tastes; well except on the tiny issue of monogamy. And it was on that point I stood to say; not today devil!  (be like me, where’s my white hat?) It doesn’t matter if the African society is traditionally polygamous and we actively or passively share depending on our religious inclination or the choices of our partners. I’m firmly #teammarriage!

So, here are my questions; for what reasons can we justify the existence of ‘the other woman’, have you ever found yourself knowingly or unknowingly as ‘the other woman’ or if you are #teammonogamy like me but admire Olivia Pope or any other mistress, how do you cope with the double standards?

xoxo chinma

Images Credit: Google Images

For Adults on Children’s Day

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Children

Aunt Nikki* called out to me as I walked past her shop. I was hoping she won’t see me as I walked past, but alas I wasn’t so lucky. She spotted and called out to me.

I summoned up my trademark smile and turned to her. “Kaa Aunty.” (Good evening aunty) I greeted her.

“Chinma imelagi?” (Chinma how are you?) She asked in response.

“Adim mma. I lua le?” (I’m fine, are you back?) I asked her. I asked her referring to the trip I knew she had taken recently.

“Alua lem. Mommy gi a?” (I’m fine. How is your mom?) She responded and asked.

On and on the conversation went. When I finally continued my journey, a thought occurred to me: I had become my mother!

My mother is the strongest woman I’ve met, just by being, she challenges me to be better. Let’s not even get into her beauty; my sister and I have concluded our family’s beauty is one that gets better with age. That’s the only way to get through the ‘your mom is more beautiful than you’ comments. I love and admire my mom very much, so much that I love it when people say I’m just like her. But I don’t want to be ‘all of her’. There’s some of her character I would rather do without. Top of my mind is the ‘Nigerian’ greeting culture.

The greeting/ conversation with Aunt Nikki that just happened, was exactly how my mom would have greeted her. And if I were with my mom at the time (or maybe a few years earlier) I would have said a simple ‘good evening’ and walked ahead a few paces to wait for my mom and aunt Nikki to ask about everything and everyone while silently wondering why they couldn’t just say a quick good evening and walk away.

But here I am, replicating that same behavior I would love to not do. I imagine a lot of young adults are in my shoes, wondering how we got to replicate behavioral patterns we dislike. Some of us have come to realise that the world isn’t so black and white and issues aren’t so clear cut. The clarity of our childhood and youth has been eroded by this adult thingy and we are on our way to being our parents, guardians, teachers, mentors.

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I have used an example that’s easy, almost a non-issue, but when you really examine every other of your behaviors and mannerisms, you will find yourself replicating your parents or the people you associate with. In the good and the bad. That’s how issues like polygamy, domestic violence, lawlessness, drunkenness, etc. become family traditions. A child will do what he/she sees you do a hundred times befre he/she will do what you have asked him to do once. In the words of Dr. Gregory House of ‘House’ medical series: monkey see, monkey do!

Try as we can, we cannot run away from the influence of our formative years, which is why as parents we need to nurture our children with this consciousness. Knowing fully well that we are the bows from which our children as living arrows are sent forth.

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For our sakes as much as theirs, we need to do better. We need to be the future we hope to see. It’s not enough to want to do better, we need to actually do better. Ko ba le da! (so that it can be well).

 

Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults. – Abraham Lincoln.

Have a happy Children’s day!

*Not real name.

xoxo chinma

 

What’s in a name?

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A name is an identity, something for which you’re known, which you stand for.

So what’s my hang-up about names?

People have done battle because of a change of name, society attaches so much importance to a name; whatever it may be. Well, as it rightly should. So if I say my name is bla-bla-bla, it is my name. You have no right to change or refine it! Or misspell or mispronounce it.

Here’s the thing: I meet you or I write to you and I introduce myself as; Chinma. What that is saying is; please refer to me as Chinma. Please don’t go fishing, it’s not a time to ask: will that be Miss, Ms. or Mrs. Chinma? Like those irritating customer care agents. Neither do I expect you to reply me mispronouncing or misspelling my name, if you didn’t hear me clearly please seek clarification. Thank you very much.

It’s particularly irritating if it’s a written correspondence and I have written ‘Chinma’ or ‘Chidinma’ as the case may be, and then you reply or refer to me as ‘Chima or Chindinma’. Haba! I know us Nigerians struggle with names of people from other tribes or complicated names, but: the name is there, written in plain text, all you had to do was copy and paste. That’s not difficult nau, I haven’t asked you to spell my name, and it’s not a test, just get the spelling of my name.

You see us Nigerians are finicky about such things. For some, it’s the title: Chief, Dr., Professor, High Chief (definitely different from a mere ‘chief’), Mrs., etc. we all have our names and titles and are finicky about such things.

I think it stems from the fact that our names have meanings and importance; a letter added here or taken out there gives a name a totally different meaning. See the Chinma- Chima example: Chinma- Good God, Chima- God Knows. See why someone will have a problem with you misspelling or mispronouncing his/her name? Or it could be about Chidinma- God is good, Chimdinma- my God is good. In this case, just one letter differentiates the names and its wrong to think just because you don’t understand it that it’s the same. Seyi is not the same as Sayo. Pay attention to the details for that’s where the devil is lurking.

This is like a person saying; this is who I am and you (respondee) are saying; this is who you are! Like seriously? Who are you to change my name? Who are you to decide not to use my title or whatever?

There’s also this thing about special names for certain people based on relationship. If I’m walking on the street and I hear my name it’s Lagos, I won’t turn. Lol, I already have an idea of what kind of relationship I have with the caller or where we’ve met by what he/ she calls me. So that provides clarity. Caveat: If you are present at that meeting, it’s not a call to start calling me honey bun or sweet cheeks because you heard my dear aunty call me that! No, stay in your own lane with regards to what you call me.

There’s also the thing about given names vs preferred names. Say; mama and papa decide to name their child; baby boy, and the child grows and decides to be known as; wizchild. Lol. The rule I will follow for this is; call the person what he has insisted he should be called i.e. what he has introduced himself as. QED.

This name thingy, it can be as e get o, people take serious offence to being called something they will not prefer or not being called what they prefer. It can be the difference between getting a lucrative contract and not getting it. It can be the difference between getting a job and not getting it. Front office and customer facing staff kind-off understand it, hence their asking us; will that be Miss or Mrs.? But…. I think the rule you should follow is: refer to the person as the person has introduced himself. Imagine sending me a request mail referring to me as Chindinma!!! You have successfully pissed me off already nau, case closed.

To avoid this, I will suggest the use of the ma and sir rule. Trust me you can get away with that any day or time. Just politely refer to the person as ma and sir. Uber gets this one, their drivers are trained to ma and sir their passengers to death.

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So, in conclusion; what’s the big deal about a name one might ask? I would say it’s about the fact that it is a differentiating nomenclature. Differentiates A from B, it tells of a story. Mine says my parents looked at me and thought how good God is. Yours might testify that your parents looked at you and felt joy unspeakable or prophesied goodness into your life. Whatever the case may be, it is your name and no one has a right to change it.

For all of you who specialize in misspelling and mispronouncing names; God is watching you. For those who have had or constantly have their names destroyed; I feel your pain, share your story.

Till next week, wishing you love and light!

xoxo chinma

Happy New Month, Welcome to April 

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images (4)It’s the beginning of the 2nd quarter! The first quarter was a blast, or was it? Lol!

Personally, I felt like it dragged. But….. We’re happy to see it go. And this month is Easter!!!!

So, as we begin the 2nd quarter; I  wish us all God’s grace and blessings. May this month be all that we wish it is.

Have a great month y’all, wishing you Joy always.

xoxo chinma

We should all have filters!

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rose colored glasses

My friend Eka* is the go to person when you need honest, no bullshit advice. She serves it hot. However, as time went on we began to notice Eka’s honesty was bothering on brutality/ fault finding. We quickly crowned her the ‘chairperson- fault finders association’. However, as the days rolled into years, we found her ‘frank speaking’ to be a little too…. I don’t know: too frank, tinged with bitterness, I don’t know.

Eka termed it: us being allergic to the truth, she believed we were ‘beginning to do bad things’ which we knew couldn’t hold up under the light! Lol.

I don’t think so, matter of fact; I have this sneaky suspicion Eka is kinda seeing the word through (what’s the opposite of rose colored glasses?) muddy glasses and sees everything as muddy. My thoughts, but in the spirit of this article; I won’t be the one to tell Eka. And if you’re my friend and are reading this and think you are Eka; maybe, maybe not, sha call me.

These days I’m so scared of stepping on people’s toes, I’m literarily working on egg shells and if you know me you’ll know ‘I’m as clumsy as I am elegant. Like one minute I’m balancing a stack of fine china in my left hand, and the next I’m shattering well-arranged on a stack china’- that was just a figure of speech and if you can’t understand it; I can’t help you. Or, sorry; I can and will interpret when I can speak it in plain English.

The point to this whole song and dance is; people are on edge and we should all have filters. I should have completed this article yesterday, perhaps with it fresh in my mind I would have a ‘zen-ful’ evening.

I lost it yesterday evening; like a lot of people have been doing. You see ehn, I’m just as human as the rest of us. Matter of fact, I’m the first to claim our humanity- like I wear it like a badge so no-one ever expects me to perform miracles. Mi le se ju ara mi! So, as I was saying; I totally sincerely regret loosing it last night, but the actions of the other person; like ki lo de? Why is it so impossible difficult for older ones to listen to the younger ones, even when you have been proven right time and time again (that I believe should be a conversation for another day)?

Anyways, back to this article; as we go about our daily activities, we all need filters.

For those not in the know; filters in this case or as used in this article refers to the picture filters used on photography apps. Filters can be used to enhance or edit a picture, blot out or cover the defects we will love to hide. We need these filters to be able to blot out, cover, ignore defect; so we can see the beauty in everyone and everything. As against ‘fault finding’ like Eka.

Filter is what will have you saying; ‘not today devil’ in the face of provocation and avoiding that provocation. Filters will get you to a place of zen, everything looking all peachy; seeing lemons as a call for lemonade and overripe banana as a chance to bake banana bread! Lol!

Why should we have filters? Because you and I are on edge, our reality today is that to survive in Nigeria is HARD! People are struggling with a lot and you don’t know what just might tip the other person over. The economy is in the gutters and nothing spreads despair like lack of money. Wait a minute, the economy is also DEPRESSED! So you can understand why I’m on here asking you all to spread love and light, right? Because you just might not know who is close to the doing something stupid, I’m sure we don’t want anybody’s actions weighing on your conscience.

Here’s what I advise:

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  1. Remember the old saying: ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything’? Revamp it. Learn to hold your tongue if you don’t have anything positive to say. This might be a tad difficult if your opinion is sought and saying something nice will be falsehood. This is where you need to apply the next rule:
  2. Speak with tact: diplomacy. You know that art of speaking where you can ask someone to go to hell and they will reply: ‘with all pleasure’? Learn it. It is profitable.
  3. Count to a hundred, or at least twenty. Sha do some mental calculation before you respond. Not easy to do, yes, but learn it. Lest someone’s foolish action weigh on your conscience.

And if you feel what’s against you is mre than what’s for you? Please read Mountains or Miracles

  1. Finally; it’s never that bad! So long as the person hasn’t killed someone, it isn’t ever that bad. Think this, do not take anything to heart, share love and light wherever you go, and may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God. Amen.

xoxo chinma

*Not real name.

Images credit: google.com

Product Review: Nature’s Gentle Touch Relaxer

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You all know I’m team #processednaturalhair, right? So recently, I’ve been feeling like something had gone wrong with my preferred relaxer brand, or maybe it was just ‘product adaptation’1, but it wasn’t as effective as it used to be.

I passively considered changing, but the question was; to which one? Relaxer isn’t something I pay premium attention to and I wasn’t about to go on a trial spree with my hair. Then I came across a Nature’s Gentle Touch ad, can’t remember exactly if it was an Instagram ad or one of the online store ads. Anyways, I researched on it, read it’s an herbal blend and all….. I decided to try it.

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My hair is the original comb breaking koko hair. Fast growing, almost unmanageable. I put it to the Nature’s Gentle Touch by Recare test, no, it was the other way round; I tested the product on my hair and I can honestly give it a positive review.

The relaxer comes in regular and super blend, I used the super formula; hooked up by my cousin CJ, applied by my regular stylist. CJ tried to get me to go to Nature Gentle Touch’s salon in VI and I was like; just to relax my hair? Lol.

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In the pack is the crème relaxer, an activator, shampoo, protein rich conditioner and leave in conditioner (in order of usage). Oh and not forgetting the pair of gloves and usage instructions.

So, James2 scooped some relaxer into a mixing bowl and activated it according to instructions. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures from the application process, not even pictures immediately after. The relaxer was applied to new growth (you all know we rarely follow the timing instructions and only wash off when it begins to burn). We used only the enclosed products for washing, conditioning and leave-in conditioning. The only different product used was original organic shea butter, which is all the hair crème I use. The hair was straightened and I was low-key impressed but held back from giving it full praise.

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Four days later and my straightened hair still looked good, I decided to review the product. This is a rare occurrence (last time it happened was in the first few applications with the previous relaxer). And typically by this time I should have had to plug in my flat iron, but no, this held through. Today is its fifth day and I can honestly give Nature’s Gentle Touch thumbs up and will gladly recommend.

You all, go try it out and let me know what you think.

1Product adaptation is whereby you are adapted to a particular product such that it looses its efficacy. Happens very often with skincare products.

2My hairstylist

Mountains or Miracles

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What do you see?

Suicide hotlines

Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Whenever I think of that those words I always put on my analysis hat, like what are my options were I in that position:

  • The devil: death- physical and spiritual
  • The deep blue sea: I could thread water to safety for as long as my strength can carry me, I could be rescued, or I could drown; and die physically. But with the hope of life everlasting.

It’s never that bad.

It really truly isn’t ever that bad!

I had a whole different post ready and in my drafts, but this came to me and I just had to type up and share. The recent reports of suicide is alarming. I’m just going to stay in my neck of the woods and talk about Nigeria’s recent suicide crisis. We never used to be like this. We used to be so resilient. Remember the jokes about how if you pushed a Nigerian to the wall he/she will break the wall down and keep going, surviving, thriving. Recently it appears as though everything has gone south and a lot of us are taking the suicide route. The despair and hopelessness I see in people is alarming. People are sad, and solace, through joy can only be found in God (I don’t care what anyone thinks).

A lot of people are weighed down with the cares of the world and with the feeling that no one knows what you’ve been through or are going through. Truth is; everyone has their own pain, no one lives on easy street.

There’s always hope!

We need to move beyond seeing the mountains and seeing the miracles. Take each victory and mining it for all its worth.

Where have we gone wrong?

I think part of the problem is our judgmental attitude as Nigerians (my opinion). Every one of us are ‘Judge Judy’ prototypes and card carrying members of ‘The Fault Finders Association’. We are always seeking for where to lay blame or a fault to highlight. I’ve heard people share their burden and find themselves being blamed for something or the other.

Mistakes, Chinma Eke

We have such a terrible culture of shaming and judging the victims that people are wary of opening up. There’s no shame in being depressed, in every mental illness; it’s an ailment such as malaria and typhoid. There’s also not shame in having made bad decisions; financial, marital, career, etc. There’s no shame in having done something bad. Truth is, as much as we like to think we grow older and wiser; we still and will still make mistakes.

PSA:

Dearest Nigerians, it’s not all the time find fault, or proffer solution. Sometimes, just listen. Half the time a solution comes to the ‘sharer’ by just voicing the thoughts. I think Nigerians generally have a problem with listening in silence but….. that’s a topic for another day.

Another reason I think could be responsible for this is the fact that we have few licensed mental health practitioners. And please this does not read: motivational speaker, life coach, religious leader or community elder. The available ones are few and far between. Psychologist and Psychiatrist are not glamorous professions! I remember when in school and even currently, people do not understand what Psychology or Psychiatry is all about. They read Psychiatry to mean; Mad people’s doctor and Psychology to mean: mind reader, and they are like: ‘why should anyone spend school time studying how to read minds’. The more enlightened will think: counselor, and think: anyone can be a counselor. Yes some people are naturally gifted in counselling, but hello?? Are you licensed?

The few times I open up myself to listen and counsel, it almost always ends with; ‘Chinma you are good at this, I feel better already, you should practice your discipline.’ I always remind the person that a first degree in Psychology does not a counselor make, in fact I need at least a Masters with PhD in view to be able to practice. What helps me and what people find most valuable is a lesson I actually learnt from my sister. She might not remember this conversation but years ago she had once unburdened herself to me and I responded in kind. She later told me that there are some times when the person just wants to be listened to and not joined in the pity party. I never forgot that lesson. It sunk in better than the classes my mom paid for. Added to the fact that I’m more of a listener than a speaker.

A problem shared is a problem solved/ halved?

Depends on who you share with, it can quickly become a problem compounded. I know for a lot of people it’s about not being able to see past their problems and getting to a neutral point where they can give good advice, for some others it’s also about not having the full picture of the situation. Which is why full disclosure is required to be able to be helped.

If someone happens to approach you for counselling, listen, pray with the person, encourage the person to get professional help (prayer and medical help are not mutually exclusive). Don’t counter with a ‘if I tell you my own problems you will feel sorry for me’. Listen and offer advice as your opinion, not as the gospel (except unless you are quoting the gospel purely and not giving it your own interpretation).  Help the person to see the miracles and opportunities that can arise from the situation no matter how bad. Don’t give advice you won’t take, if you are at a loss for what to say; don’t say anything, refer the person to someone else you think can help. A hug, a prayer, a reassuring ‘it is well’, will serve better than a judgement or ill advice.

I say to you who feels like the walls are closing in on you, get help. Your need, pain, feelings are valid. Get help, professional help! Yes, you are not the worst hit in whatever situation you find yourself, but get help. yes, no be your own bad pass, but get help! Keep seeking help until you find it. And when all else fails, look to God not man. I pray that your eyes be opened like the prophet’s servant in the Bible to see the angels who are for you and to recognize that they are more than they that are against you.

Most importantly, keep your head up!

xoxo chinma

Your Colleagues are NOT your Friends

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Or maybe they are!

Friendly colleagues

Most organizations are high pressured. The 8-5 thingy is long gone and has been replaced with 5-8 or 10pm (depends on office-home proximity) and for organizations that are still compliant to this timeline, to resume for work at eight means you must have left your home by 7 at the earliest. And if you live in traffic filled Lagos and have to do the Island-Mainland commute, chances are you have to leave your home as early as 5am in some cases and you’re getting home by 8-9pm on a good traffic day. So if you factor in your commute time you see your job isn’t really an 8-5, more like a 4am to 10pm (preparation time included).

For some who are lucky to live in the same neighborhood as their colleagues, carpooling is an option. This in effect will mean you are with your colleagues from as early as 5:30am as the case may be until about 10pm. The argument is; since you spend most of your time at work and with your colleagues, why can’t you be friends with them? Valid question.

Also, there is the fact that the long hours we spend at work as against anywhere else necessitate the forming of a bond that transcends work. After-all, how and where are friendships formed- isn’t it often at places where people meet very often and find themselves to share similar ideals? Places like- schools- nursery to tertiary, places of worship, leisure and WORK.

The thing however is, the work environment is very competitive and you can only be friends in every sense of the word if you don’t report to the same boss and there is never a reason to compare you both. Which in most organizations with cross functional teams is almost impossible.

I cannot totally rule out office friendships, being that the strength or otherwise of any friendship is dependent on the level of maturity of the parties involved. But the thing with the variety grown in the office is it’s subject to all the roforofo that goes with the office environment. Can you objectively assess your friend (if the relationship is across cadres), or if there’s just a spot to move up as there often is; will you let your friend get it or will your friendship be done in as a result of the competition to move up?

I have friends which the friendship grew in the office space. friendships that transcend culture and sometimes age. i have friends whom we’re no longer colleagues but have remained friends. But some friendships haven’t been so successful. Take the story of Jane and Mary* who were colleagues, friends, and sisters. They both resumed for duty on the same day, their husbands knew each other, and everyone knew them as friends. Until their immediate supervisor resigned and their manager needed to make a decision on who will step into the vacant role. The manager chose to place them on a rotational probation; they took turns being supervisors. Before long, cracks appeared in their relationship. It was obvious a decision will be made one day and each of them wanted the decision to be in their favor. They began competing, each trying to outshine each other and when the decision was made in neither of their favor, the friendship had been ruined.

Like I said earlier, the office environment is one filled with intrigues, drama, competition, etc., and it’s easy to see how friendships will be lost in a bid to get ahead. The male folk tend to be able to manage this things better (guys don’t have wahala). Like someone said to me; ‘if I can’t make friends with my colleagues whom I spend the greater part of my day with, then I won’t have friends’. I agree totally, but with a caveat; remember, you are colleagues first before friends.

This article isn’t meant to scare you off friendly relations with your colleagues, for like every relationship; the work space relationship has its own challenges as well. It’s rather meant to remind you; Your colleagues are NOT your friends.

Have a great day.

xoxo chinma

*Not real name

Dear Women, #Beboldforchange

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It is said that ‘women are their own worst enemies’ and this is largely true. Behind the downfall of a woman is another woman. As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s day with the theme: Be Bold for Change, my question to you dear sister is: what change are you driving?

The IWD has identified the following ways in which we can #Beboldforchange:

  • I’ll challenge bias and inequality
  • I’ll campaign against violence
  • I’ll forge women’s advancement
  • I’ll celebrate women’s achievement
  • I’ll champion women’s education

Visit the IWD page to pledge to be Bold for change.

A lot of us might say all of the things on there are beyond my control. That may be so, but the things within your control, how have you changed the status?

  • Things like the way you treat your subordinates (female bosses are the most difficult to manage)
  • It’s also in the way you treat others less privileged than you
  • How about the way you treat your daughters and sisters-in-law (let’s not get started on the mother-daughter-in-law thingy)

If you really examined it, you will see that it’s not so difficult to stand for change. Like the hymn Jesus bids us shine by Susan Warner says;

Jesus bids us shine,

With a pure, clear light,

Like a little candle,

Burning in the night.

In this world is darkness,

So let us shine–

You in your small corner,

And I in mine.

We can shine, change our little or small world. Challenge gender bias, inequality, campaign against gender based violence; be a woman’s woman! Have the back of your sisters the way guys have each other’s back; so when we speak men will listen and not sneer at us.

As we join the conversations and narratives tomorrow in the pursuit of gender equality and fight against cultural biases that inhibit our growth and potential, let us remember that change begins with how we as women see, treat and fight for other women. Change does not just begin with us, it begins when we change!

xoxo chinma

Conversation: The Price of a Car Ride?

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Hello darlins, how have you been. 

I’ve been MIA a lot of times, I’m sure quite a lot of you have given up on me. E ma binu si mi, ejo!

So, you all know I write based n inspiration, well for a while lady inspiration has gone on a vacation such that I haven’t been able to finish the Breaking the Silence series. (I have faith though, one day I will finish it). 

Rather dear darling Lady inspiration has chosen to gift me with resurrected Random thoughts kind of like the Ms Psyche series of the past. Matter of fact I have a few of this articles in my draft. So I said to myself; I’m just going to post them. Apologies to all ye drama likers (myself inclusive), it’s just not coming, for now. 

So, here you go, I hope you like. Let me know what you think either way.

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We’ve often had to ride with someone; either by carpooling, ride sharing or good old fashioned asking for a ride. On these rides, I gather social norm and expectation is that the least you could do is to converse the driver and co-passengers and enliven the ride.

However, in my rebelling, anti- all things normal mode, I ask: is it compulsory? Must I gist with you because you offered me a ride?

I’m guilty of a lot of projecting, I imagine everyone is, I just am confident enough to say it. I project my thoughts, feelings, reactions to others and I judge that way. I ask myself: what will Chinma do? That helps me have an idea of what the other person will do. I also try to be fair and flexible, making allowances for individual differences and I wonder why others don’t? Like, you should understand when someone isn’t chatty and just let the person be. Don’t come with the amebo-masked-as-concern and be asking leading questions upandan like we’re in an interview session.

I work a busy schedule- 8am to 6pm at the very least, which demands me speaking with people, and moving around the office (or where I need to go), such that at the close of the day I am tired! Bone tired. So the journey to and fro work for me should be a restful one with me relaxing my brain and not having to keep up a conversation. Does that make me antisocial? I don’t think so. If you meet me in my chatty mood, when I’m with my peeps and there’s gist; you will say ‘this girl can talk! Does she ever keep quiet?’ but if you meet me when I don’t have anything to say, you will think ‘this girl is boring’. Lol! All these sides, are all me, the chatty and the moody (or silent). To be honest, more often than not I just want to be with my books, a movie and some music. The chatty side only comes out when I have gist. Most importantly I can’t get why a full grown adult cannot just not talk. Like keep quiet or allow silence sometimes, but that’s a rant an article for another day.

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So, I got thinking on why car rides cannot just be silent. Or we listen to the radio, music, endless options. The radio presents an opportunity for unplanned conversation. Just tune into a talk show, before you know it everyone in the car has joined in on the conversation. No brain work required. Then I heard some people consider this rude! I really truly threw up my hands in surrender at this point.

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I do some of my finest thinking in traffic and if I’m driving, I do not need you to keep me awake or conscious of the road. Thanks, I will do just fine. I was very surprised when a friend said he will not give a ride twice to anyone who doesn’t talk during the first ride. And I was like; bros kilode! It’s just a car ride! And it isn’t just him, I’ve heard people insist that sharing a ride and not chatting is rude. This summation has me wearing my rebellious hat again! I don’t require conversation when I’m driving, why should you require it of me when I’m a passenger in your car? It’s so annoying that some days I wish for the anonymity of public transport.

And that brings me to another point of confusion: the chatty taxi drivers! Like ahn ahn that’s the height of the whole thing! Don’t get me wrong; I have had one very good experience chatting with an Uber driver, but other than that, please let’s keep the ride as silent as possible. This is not because I don’t find the driver a worthy conversation partner, but because I like my peace and quiet during car rides. Thank you very much.  I once rode with a driver whom I noticed was sleepy; I calmly reached into my bag and offered him chewing gum. No long story, no chit chat to keep him awake; and he didn’t sleep again.

The funny thing is; I think this conversation-in-car thingy is like everything else we have come to accept as a norm. The belief that you have to make conversation during a car ride has been passed down from generation to generation such that it’s become the norm and we who do not find it necessary are the abnormal ones.

Maybe it’s because I’m a big believer in self-sufficiency and not depending on another (not being overly dependent that is), I just think the whole expected conversation being the price of a car ride or like it’s widely believed; contribution towards an enjoyable ride is a bit …… I don’t know; unfair, unrealistic, un-something….  

So, what do you think, is not keeping up conversation in a car ride sacrilegious as some think, or is it just ok. What are your preferences?

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*Images credit: Google.com

Happy New Month!

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Its the third month of the year already, how are we doing with the New Year resolutions? (I shouldn’t have reminded you about that, right?)

Anyways, how are you doing? The Christian Lenten season begins today, I wish my Christian brethren a healthy 40 days and may all our prayers be answered. Amen.

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Have a great month, enjoy March, keep slaying, keep winning!

XOXO

Chinma Eke 

Product Review: Hegai & Esther Foundation

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I can’t remember exactly how I got to know about Hegai and Esther foundation, I think it was through Instagram and so I did my research and what I saw and heard online; I liked and I visited their studio and got one. It’s manufactured and distributed by a Nigerian company #buyNaijatogrowtheNaira, I think I saw somewhere its Paraben free, plus it has SPF 20; all these were enough to get me to try I out.

The next morning I happily got out my foundation to tryout. It had taken a lot of self-control not to wipe off the makeup of the day before and tryout my new foundation. I kind off felt I should wait till the foundation is finished before writing this review so you get the benefit of the long haul use.

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Price

The foundation retails for N4,500 (what I bought directly from Hegai and Esther), which puts it in the affordable range.

Product packaging

It came neatly packaged and sealed, came in a glass bottle with a pump. Which gave me my first cause for concern. I had to pump a few times before the product came out. They might want to look into this cos people like myself who like to get every bit of my product will not like this. By the third application I had to screw open the cover and from then on I had to open the bottle to be able to get the product out. Which I imagine is unsanitary and opening and closing daily meant getting air into the foundation, but the product stayed through to its consistency to the end (till when I couldn’t get any product anymore).

Application

The product adds promise full coverage but it’s more of a good medium; not a problem for me. It glided on smoothly and the shade I got- Carrot was a perfect fit. Could be worn with or without primer and still stay on for the full day. Black Opal Duluxe finishing powder in Neutral Light gives it the perfect finish (I love this shade).

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Me, one of the times I applied it.

Pros:

  • Good consistency
  • Slightly matte finish
  • Long wear
  • SPF 20

Cons:

  • Faulty dispensing pump

My verdict: 4.5– I would have given a perfect 5 but for the issue with the pump.

Will I buy again? Most likely, but I would love for them to fix the pump first.

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Breaking The Silence: Drama?

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Here’s the continuation of the Breaking the Silence series. If you haven’t read any of the episodes and/ or have missed any episodes/ or can’t remember them; here’s the first: And the news came, the second The situationshipThe Situationship 2,  The End and a Beginning and The End & A New Beginning 2

Please read, enjoy, let me know what you think (comment) and don’t forget to share. 

****

…… She read all 22 messages, laughing at the desperation to hear gist in Linda’s messages. Rather than text a response, she decided to call her.

After the call, she checked her other whatsapp messages. Regular group convos, and …… a message from Chike “Hi, how are you?”

*****

Like seriously, how am I?

I’m peachy, very fabulous!

Lol! Angry female alert!!!

I need to get over this guy and all other guys and I need to do it fast. Like one line from him and I am cave girl all over.

Seriously, the line probably meant nothing to Chike; he was cunning like that and might just have been catching trips. Meanwhile; here I was, about to burst a vein. Smh for myself.

Anyways, Ada wasn’t going to reply that message; at least not this night. She had had enough of the day.

Just before she drifted off to sleep a text came in. curious she checked her phone; it was from Mofe saying goodnight.

She went to bed with a smile on her face.

***

The coming weeks were drama-filled for Ada.

She avoided speaking with Chike and only responded to his messages r calls when it was absolutely necessary. But he was persistent! Like he invented the word.

At the same time Mofe was pursuing her like with all he had. Mofe was a sweetheart, but she just wasn’t ready to commit to a relationship with him. He said all the right things, made all the right promises, but Ada was like; been there done that! Lol!

She threw herself into the final details for Linda’s wedding and when that day came it was so beautiful, Ada teared up a number of times and she wasn’t a crier.

Their friends came in for the wedding so it was a sort of girls’ reunion.

In one of their men bashing/ advice offering sessions, it just clicked; Sola and Chike!!!

Sola was an ex-coursemate of theirs who rarely kept in touch. She was such a special person, peculiar in her own way. Sola wouldn’t keep in touch for months, but in your hour of need she was one person you could bank on, not just count on.

She came in for Linda’s wedding from Port-Harcourt where she worked and it was like they had never been apart. To be friends with Sola, you just needed to understand her and give her the space she needed when she needs it. And, what set the light bulb off in Ada’s head; she and Chike were so alike in their relationship ideals! With her (Ada and Chike), she had thought the law of opposites thingy would be what they had going for them, unfortunately; that didn’t work out. Their differences was responsible for all the fights they had. So….. maybe with someone more like him; they will be in sync! Why didn’t she think of this all the while? Ever since that text, Chike had been hounding her. He wanted them back together, but she was having none of it. Maybe if she hooked him up (discretely ofcourse on his part), he will let her go; focus on the new catch.

But she will pre-inform Sola though. Sola was too solid a friend for her not to fully disclose.

“Ok!” Was Sola’s response when she spoke with her about it. Her face lit up in a mischievous smile.  “Let’s have a bit of fun!”

Classic Sola! The plan was to get Sola to run into them; Chike had been asking for a meeting, she will indulge his request and somehow get him to meet Sola.

Either way, whatever the outcome of the meeting; she wasn’t leaving the meeting with Chike still nursing a come-back bid.

***

She invited Mofe to Linda’s wedding (more like he made her invite him, lol). She forgot she had also invited Chike sometime in the past. Or maybe she didn’t forget, she just had not expected him to attend. Even when they were together he always had an excuse why he couldn’t be at family events.

So it was very surprising when he showed up at the reception!

They had ushered in the couple, the reception was in full swing with the MC piloting the affairs, the bridesmaids and groomsmen had left the couple and joined the party. Ada had gone to sit with Mofe and his friend, and just like in the movies; Ada’s gaze was pulled to one of the entrances and there was Chike walking in with two of his friends.

She stopped mid-sentence with her mouth open in shock, her smile froze, her throat was suddenly dry.

She managed to end the sentence and promptly excused herself to go block him off before he came in and made a scene at Ada’s wedding.

Walking on rubbery legs she searched her brain for what she would say to him; empty, she came up empty. She felt like everyone in the party was watching her; which couldn’t be but it felt that way. The MC’s voice fell away, all felt silent and all she could hear was white noise. Her mind went over all the possible reasons Chike could have for coming to the wedding. In her mind’s eye she saw him walking in angrily, seeing her with Mofe and making a scene.

She would just die from mortification.

She was so lost in thought she didn’t see the waiter until she had bumped into him.

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Travel Diaries: Warri

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Every year, I promise myself I will give my adventurous side room to soar, and well……… I rarely do. So, this year; it wasn’t a conscious thought, the opportunity just came up earlier in the year and I took it, with both hands, and was on my way to…. Warri!

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Best shot I could get of Efurun round about

I’m sure a few of you will think? What? Like of all places in Nigeria. Yeah, well, I had a primary reason for visiting the ‘city’, seeing the sights was just by the way. Besides, with the way the Waffi citizens are always going, I expected it to be……..

I don’t know, maybe I’m just not impressionable (I had a similar reaction to Ibadan), but I had fun, good company, got to see a bit of the city and to listen to the lyrical language of the people.

So, here are the five things I found out about Warri:

  1. Waffi people can talk! Goodness gracious! Male, female, don’t get them started. You see all those skits we see where someone talks a thousand words a second; it’s pure Warri.

On a fifteen minute ride from Ughelli to Warri, I don’t think the cab driver kept quiet for a moment. It was from one topic to the other. It doesn’t matter if they are speaking pidgin or Urhobo, it all sounds so lyrical; like I could listen to them all day.

 

  1. I love their blue keke! Lol, I must sound so soppy, but I do. It’s been over a year since I’ve left Lagos and it was nice seeing transport vehicles that aren’t yellow.20170128_162035

 

  1. Warri ain’t got nothing on Obalende or Oshodi! My friend disagrees with me, but I think so sha!

We had the discussion when I repeatedly got out my phone to take pictures out on the road. He kept telling me to be careful as Warri boys can snatch my phone off my hands. Ofcourse I didn’t believe him. Or maybe I did because looking at my camera roll, I realise I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have loved to. But I did return with my phone though, lol.

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I think I just made this guy a star, lol.

 

  1. There are no tourist attractions in Warri! Or so I’ve been told. Their only tourist attraction is Delta mall, or more popularly known as Shoprite! Lol! I couldn’t believe it, and thought it was because my escort was also a newbie jjc like me, so I asked a colleague who grew up in and frequently returns to Warri, and he said the same thing; Shoprite! Yes and Effurun round about; which are side by side!

Oh yes, there’s the Golden Tulip and Silverbird Galleria, which were still all the same to me; like I don’t know maybe I was expecting to see an oil well or something sha! I sha didn’t want to see all of the same places that look same as the ones here in Lag.

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  1. I saw quite a lot of something called coco garri, I think it’s like cassava flakes or by-product of garri processing. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of it and this is the only one I can find on google, but I did see a lot of it.cassava-flakes-warri

I didn’t get to eat starch and Banga soup (not like I wanted to), but I finally got to see The Wise men, which is only fitting because I think it’s set in Warri, or should be. The characters are Niger-Deltan and locations mentioned are in Warri. The movie, beyond the funnies has a strong message of not going with the crowd and not being swayed by peer pressure.

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I had a good trip sha; PTI, Warri Township stadium, etc. The road trip from Lagos- Warri-Ughelli- Lagos was cool, the company was great. And to he who made the trip possible; next up is the abroad!

XOXO

Chinma Eke

What’s in Your Makeup? 5 Tips on How to Clean-up Your Cosmetics

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So a few weeks ago, I got this very unsettling email from Consumer Safety on the ingredients in our everyday makeup.

In 2016, I had tried to clean up my cosmetics; going back to natural products (see most of my fave beauty products) in as many products as possible. However, this infographic called my attention to the fact that I hadn’t done nearly enough.

Sadly, most of my cosmetics and makeup failed this test. I was amazed at how many of my cosmetics were still in unsafe territory. Have you seen this link on talcum powder and ovarian cancer? It’s some serious stuff. So, I’m sharing this to spread the awareness on the dangers of some ingredients in our everyday cosmetics.

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It’s alarming to find that most powders, moisturizers, toothpastes, shampoos, shaving creams, and so many more are all filled with toxins that our bodies absorb. Our skin is our largest organ, so we should be more aware of what we put on it!

This year, and going forward, I have committed to cleaning out my cosmetics, here are five ways I plan to achieve that:

1. READ PRODUCTS LABELS: Avoid products with questionable ingredients, and avoid products who do not buy products without product listings. And please, if you have found a cosmetic line that doesn’t contain any of these harmful chemicals, please share. 

I’m going to be that lady in the store reading product labels item by item and crossing off my lists.

2. GO DIY: Do it yourself products are safe but a bit of a problem people have with it is; some of these products are not so easily accessible. There might be some problem sourcing some of the ingredients. But; do your research, go to your neighborhood health stores and source for your products yourself.

3. AVOID THE SALES RACK: I’ve ended up with a bunch of items I didn’t need because they were on sale. And I found that I took my time studying products labels when they were not on sale (probably has to do with the store not being crowded at the time). So this year, I’m going to avoid the discount stores, or if I must buy products at a discount, I will do my research online before hitting the stores.

4. DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT, DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH: That your great-aunt used certain products through her life, lived to be a hundred and passed peacefully in her sleep doesn’t take away the fact that those products might be harmful. Do your own research before you buy or use products, if it’s questionable, please avoid it.

5. DRINK WATER, EAT A LOT OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES: I’m sure a lot of us will be wondering what this tip is doing here. Truth is; a lot of the conditions we treat with expensive creams with complex labels can be helped with a good diet and enough rest. So, eat well drink a lot of water, get some rest and watch your dependence on cosmetics reduce.

There you have it, my five tips I hope to follow to clean up my cosmetics this year. Let me know how you intend to achieve this, and if you have already; how did you do it?

Have a great day.

#beautyfriday, chinma eke's blog

The End & A New Beginning 2

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Hey dearies, how have you all been. 

I’m sure quite a number of you must have given up on me. I apologise deeply. 

I have really truly not tried

So here’s the continuation of the Breaking the Silence series. If you haven’t read any of the episodes and/ or have missed any episodes/ or can’t remember them; here’s the first: And the news came, the second The situationshipThe Situationship 2, the most recent The End and a Beginning

Please read, enjoy, let me know what you think (comment) and don’t forget to share. 

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As expected, he called. Luckily for him it was later in the evening when I was true with the day’s hustle and bustle and able to put my feet up.

He sounded pleasant (don’t they all at the beginning?), we talked for like an hour. A lot of it was just getting to know each other. He said he was Mofe Boboye, worked for an investment firm (more like his father’s investment bank, lol; I have CIA skills), second son of a family of two male and two female children, single (google didn’t help with that), liked water sports bla bla bla.

I gave him the short and simple version; Ada, coincidentally they shared similar birth positions, and no; she wasn’t a fan of water sports.

He tried to get her to open up more but she gave him the short and simple response versions.

The conversation ended when she began to drift off to sleep. He ended the call, promising to call the next day.

***

True to his word he called and several times after. She who said she was on a break found herself looking forward to his calls and messages. They talked a lot and knew so much about each other. He was easy to talk with, and she had told herself she wasn’t looking for a relationship at that time. With the absence of those pressures, it was easy to just enjoy the conversations and budding friendship. Then came their first physical date. He took her to an upscale restaurant where the food was fantastic.

Against her better judgement and with Linda’s encouragement, she dressed up nicely and was happy she did. It would have been disaster for her had she dressed in jeans and top and he brought her here.

There had a nice dinner with enjoyable conversation. Undiscussed, both of them put their phones away for the duration of the meal. Not even for one second did they glance at their phone. That was a rare feat in this social age where a lot of people behaved as though their phones were their life source.

Without her saying anything he ensured he got her home in time. When he got to her front door, he said his aim had been 9pm but traffic saw them getting in at a quarter past nine. Not so bad, it was a Saturday night she didn’t have to get up very early the next day.

Ofcourse as was to be expected there were several update requests from Linda. Lol, the girl liked amebo.

She would reply to the messages after her bath.

While she was in the bathroom her mom came into her room.

“How did your date go?” Amaka Chukwuemeka asked.

Adaeze rolled her eyes in the bathroom. ‘Next thing mommy would start planning wedding’ she thought to herself.

“It wasn’t a date, but it went well.” She replied.

He mother sighed deeply. “You and your sister, do you think you are getting any younger. All my mates already have grandchildren even the males. Yet I don’t even have an in-law not to talk of grandchildren.

“Mommy …” Ada attempted to interrupt as she came out of the bathroom.

“Don’t interrupt me!” Her mom shut her down. “What do you want to say; that will you marry yourself, or that every relationship must not end in marriage?”

Adaeze didn’t reply. She concentrated on selecting a sleep wear as though it were the most important task in the world.

“I’m not asking you to perform magic or do something impossible. All I’m asking is that you and your sister come off these your high horse and choose one of the men flocking around you. In a few years, there will be no one. A woman’s time ……”

“Mommy, we’ve heard.” Ngozi, Adaeze’s elder sister came to her defense.

Adaeze turned around sharply. She hadn’t heard Ngozi come into the room and neither had their mom.

Both Ada and Ngozi held their breath expecting their mom to continue with the scolding, but Mrs. Chukwuemeka just sighed and rather said; “Your Uncle Sam called, the burial has been fixed for June.”

“June!!!!” both Ada and Ngozi exclaimed.

“That’s a whole 9 months!” Ngozi said quickly calculating.

Amaka Chukwuemeka sighed deeply by way of response. “Anyway, it’s their brother, there are the one who have the final say.” She got up to leave the room. She turned back to the ladies at the door. “You ladies need to settle down, you are not getting any younger. Ehn, biko!” with that she left the room.

“How was your date?” Ngozi asked after their mom had left.

“It wasn’t a date, why is everyone seeing it like a date?” Ada sank into the bed.

“Ok, how was your meeting?” Ngozi rephrased.

“It went well.”

“So…….?”

“So nothing. We just had a nice meal; a delicious one at that.”

“Lol, did you go there for the food?” Ngozi teased.

“Ofcourse. I was hungry. Anyways, Mofe is cool, but….. I’m not ready.”

“Why, because of Chike?”

“No, because of me. I just, … I get mommy’s point of view that we aren’t getting any younger. Believe me; I know. But; I’d rather not make a mistake.”

“Isn’t that our fear? Anyways, just to remind you that overtaking is allowed.”

They both laughed. “You and this your overtaking is allowed. I need to reply Linda’s messages before she has a heart attack.” Ada picked up her phone.

“Aite. Good night. Church tomorrow?” Ngozi asked as she got up to leave.

“Sure.” 22 messages from Linda! She read them all, laughing at the desperation to hear gist in Linda’s messages. Rather than text a response, she decided to call her.

After the call, she checked her other whatsapp messages. Regular group convos, and …… a message from Chike “Hi, how are you?”

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12 Beauty Resolutions You Should Keep This Year

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Hey everyone! Welcome to 2017, again. How have you been?

For our first Beauty Friday post of the year, I’m going to share 12 beauty resolutions I stumbled on and I think we all should keep this year (I know I should keep them, it’s just hard sometimes!).

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In no particular order, they are:

  1. Never, ever go to bed with makeup on. No matter how exhausted you are or how late it is: Take. It. Off. Removing your makeup can make the difference between beautiful, glowing skin and a complexion that looks dull and has clogged pores, plus, while you’re sleeping, makeup can get pushed deeper into your pores, leading to acne.
    Another factor you might not take into account: Some dead skin cells are meant to shed every day, but having makeup on 24/7 can cause them to stick to the skin’s surface. This can also lead to breakouts and exacerbate fine lines.
  2. Use a ton of TLC to remove your eye makeup. “The skin around your eyes is the thinnest, most delicate skin on your face. So if you tug too roughly when removing your eye makeup, your skin can stretch out over time and fine lines can become more noticeable. Instead, use light, downward motions to wipe away your shadow, liner, and mascara, and opt for a non-greasy eye makeup removing formula that won’t irritate skin and contains ingredients known to soothe skin such as vitamins B5 and E.
  3. Drink plenty of water morning to night. And not just when you’re hitting the gym or you’re super thirsty (if you get to that point, you’re most likely already dehydrated). Hydration — inside and out — is key to keeping your skin radiant. Wondering how much to drink? Eight 8-ounce glasses is still the recommended daily minimum, so drink up for gorgeous, fully hydrated, flake-free skin.woman-drinking-water.jpg
  4. Use a face cream and sunscreen combo every day. Even the five minutes you spend in the sun running into the mall or work each day add up. People often only think to use sunscreen when they’re out for an extended period of time, but even incidental exposure every day over a few years causes brown spots and fine lines to show up earlier. So, 365 days a year, regardless of the season, use a face cream with SPF 15 or higher, then apply your makeup. She suggests adding dots on your forehead, cheeks, chin, down the front of your neck (and both ears if your hair is up) to ensure that all exposed skin is properly protected.
  5. Always sleep on a clean pillowcase. “Your skin can pick up dirt and bacteria, traces of makeup, dead skin cells, saliva, and hair product residue from a pillowcase that hasn’t been washed,” explains Dr. Karen. So flip your pillow over once a week and wash it every two to avoid a buildup of these pore-clogging substances.
  6. Don’t pick at your skin. Leave that pimple/blackhead/bump alone. As tempting as it can be, unless you’ve got a clear whitehead (that you can use two tissues to gently press out), it’s more likely that you’ll either drive bacteria farther into skin, make it more inflamed, or add more dirt and bacteria to the area from your fingers and nails. If you have a blemish that is red and raised, hold an ice cube on it for 20-second intervals for a few minutes to bring down the inflammation, and then apply a dot of a salicylic acid spot treatment and cover with concealer on top.acne-tips-Chinma-Ekes-blog.jpg
  7. Work regular workouts into your routine. Aerobics, yoga or spin class can have a positive effect on your skin as well as your mood and body, because a workout increases circulation, creating that great glow once it’s done. Another plus: Working up a sweat can help lower the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked not only to skin aging but breakouts and clogged pores.
  8. Don’t binge on junk food. We aren’t talking about enjoying the occasional DC and bag of chips. If most of your calories are coming from the snack machine, your skin is going to pay the price. More studies are pointing toward carbs as the bad guys for skin. Sugar, white bread, pasta, cake, and candy may speed up glycation in skin. (Glycation is when sugar molecules latch onto cells, including those in skin, and cause them to become malformed and accelerate the breakdown of collagen.) What you see in the mirror: loss of radiance, more noticeable lines, and skin that doesn’t look as supple. Overdoing it with carbs and dairy has been linked to acne as well. Instead, eat a well balanced diet full of non-processed, nutritionally dense foods (think green veggies, fresh fruit, yogurt, lean protein, plus nuts and seeds) to make sure you skin stays breakout-free, supple, and on point.
  9. Gently exfoliate. Depending on your skin type, use a chemical peel like a glycolic acid or AHA, soft scrub, or try derma-planing (when you glide a special razor over skin in downward strokes) to remove dead skin for a glowy, glass-like finish. Exfoliating one or two days a week is enough.dv088017-630x300.jpg
  10. Clean your phone daily. And don’t press it directly against your skin when talking either. Your phone is a breeding ground for germs.
  11. Apply a face mask weekly. If your skin is on the drier side, opt for a moisturizing mask that contains glycerin or hyaluronic acid. If you’re more oil-prone, then alternate between an exfoliating mask and a clay-based treatment. For those with combination skin, try multi-masking and apply what you need, where you need it (such as detoxing clay on your nose and chin, and a hydrating mask on your forehead and cheeks).
  12. And at the end of the day, get ample sleep. Put your devices to bed (preferably in another room) an hour before you tuck in (I should try this). The goal is to try to unplug, shut down any connection, and just allow yourself to sleep and fully, fully rest. Ideally, get eight hours of sleep uninterrupted, you want to enter the deep sleep that allows your mind, body, and skin to repair.

Have a great weekend! Don’t forget to share your beauty resolutions with us as well as share this article.

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Article credit: Cosmopolitan magazine, image credit Google.com

As The Year Ends……

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Every year since I started this blog, I write a ‘Motivational’ article which I publish on the last day of the year. This year, I would love for you all to read my epilogue here. That was me sharing a bit of what my 2016 was about.

I have a word for us all, it was a response I gave to Betty Irabor’s tweet sometime ago

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This words are as true today as they were on the 1st of November. It is the year ending and not your life. And just as the age old saying goes; where there is life, there is hope. I wish us all a great 2017; our latter will always be greater than the last.

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My Fave Beauty Products of 2016

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Hello dearies, happy holidays!

As the year ends today, I would like to wrap up the beauty posts with a catalog of my favorite beauty products. some of them I have reviewed on this bog already, others, I haven’t.

We’ll begin from the basics; my favorite face wash, which has so replaced Neutrogena Acne wash in my beauty routine is: RnR Luxury Liquid black soap. Read it’s full review here.

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And my favorite toner, which I should do a full review for is Jules Therapy Witch hazel toner. witch-hazel-5915724

This product is purely amazing. I will be sure to do a full review on it in the near future.

My go-to body oil is Vanity Oils Skin Toning Therapy; I love this oil. Read it’s full review here

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You all know the primer that’s the love of my life; Mary Kay Foundation Primer.

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This primer goes with any and I mean any foundation I pair it with, it sets a perfect base. It contains spf 15 which is an added advantage for me.

For foundations, I experimented this year; stepped away from Mary Kay Timewise Matte foundation and discovered some surprisingly good foundations.

First was Black opal True Color Liquid Foundation, which I reviewed here and Hegai and Esther Duo Cover Photo Perfect Foundation; my newest love! I will do a full review of it soon, till then take my word for it and try out this foundation. dsc_8406-600x600

And yes, its a Nigerian product, so #buynaijatogrowthenaira.

To crown it all; the queen of all my beauty products, the one I’ve been with for years is Black Opal Deluxe Finishing powder in Neutral Light.

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This powder is what I will call a workaholic powder, it’s been with me through many foundations and it’s always held its own.

So, share with us, what are your fave beauty products and what products did you discover in 2016 or would love to try in 2017?

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Breaking the Silence: The End & A Beggining

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‘I’m not going to get into how you never see anything wrong with your actions, I’m not going to get into how much you’ve hurt me. But you have and try as I have I can’t get past it. This thing of ours is unlike anything I have ever known; it’s been two years and I can’t get used to it. I don’t want to be friends with you anymore; it hurts too much! Don’t ever contact me; if you do I will block you. Have a good evening.’

Adaeze edited and reread the text. It might not look like much but her heart was in those words. She really needed to pass the message to Chike that they were done for good.

A few hours later he responded. ‘Wow, many words! No worries, I will honor your request. If you want it like this so be it.’

**

Adaeze’s philosophy to breakups had always been; it’s not over until the ex tries to make a comeback and you refuse to go back, avoid Okafor’s law and all…. Then it really is over.

Adaeze tried to move on in spite of the pain of the broken dream and dashed hope. She threw herself into work, life; there was just something about living and not existing, especially when you are living on your own terms and not on the whims and caprices of another in the name of being ‘girl-friend’.

She could go out with her girls without having to check with Chike on convenience or if he would have preferred that they do something else.

The up-side to being in a relationship is it provides for companionship, the downside- is its restrictiveness. When you’re in a relationship you become a part of a pair (as it should be). The downside comes when the relationship is over. Then you find you don’t know who you are anymore. Everything reminds you of your ex; movies watched together, places visited together, you could just be in the middle of a conversation and you say a word that had double entendre and just like that you are back in pity party land.

Adaeze gave herself time to mourn her relationship. She knew she needed to heal. Beyond Chike she knew she needed to get rid of the daddy issues she had. This constant search for a father figure in her relationships needed to end lest she do herself in by settling for a crappy relationship or worse; a crappy marriage.

Linda was a rock through this trying times for Adaeze. Adaeze had always admired Linda’s relationship. Linda had been seeing Tayo Fayemi for about three years at the time and they were the classic ‘point of contact couple’. They rarely had any fights of note, got along famously, were so in sync, could finish off each other’s sentences, and were good old friends. They were getting married the next year. ‘Daeze was sure they were going to do the ‘I’m marrying my best friend’ lol! They were an inspiration and a heartache; the classic Yoruba and Ibo union, their relationship surviving against all odds. They were also a heartache, could drive a sister to envy! Lol!

Adaeze threw herself into helping Linda plan her upcoming wedding. Between work, church and the upcoming wedding, she was kept very busy. Too busy to think about a guy! Lol! At the time, the last thing she needed was a guy distracting her, she just wanted to be alone to ‘find’ herself.

It was a busy Saturday, she was backing out of Sofresh neighborhood market, a parfait in one hand, her phone wedged between her ear and shoulder, her handbag and a shopping bag in the other hand. She bumped into a warm body and spun around so very quickly almost spilling the contents of her cup on the person she bumped into.

“I’m so sorry!” She apologised. “Babes, lemme call you back.” She said into the phone and dropped both the shopping bag on the floor with her handbag on it. She retrieved her phone from her shoulder. “I’m sorry she apologised again. “Hope I didn’t stain you.” She examined his shirt, and well; got a good look at him. He was tall, but not so much; say 5’ 9”, dark and of average build. Adaeze took in the smile, sunglasses and the white ‘Yoruba demon’ attire (as she had come to think of the popular male traditional shirt and trousers) and her defenses rose.

“No you didn’t.” He replied, giving her an appreciative look.

Duh! She could see that for herself. His cocky attitude was putting her off already, she was immediately irritated. Besides, she knew she didn’t look her best, she had been shopping and running errands all day, was in a plain top and leggings, her hair was unmade and she wasn’t wearing any makeup. What was he appreciating?

“Sorry I bumped into you.” She bent to retrieve her hand and shopping bag. She made to walk around him.

“Not so fast beauty. My name is Mofe” He extended his hand in a handshake.

“Nice to meet you Mofe.” She replied with a plastic smile. She raised both hands in an indication that her hands were full.

He followed her out of Sofresh. “Where are you headed?” He asked walking with her.

She pointed to the waiting cab.

He walked with her to the car and extended his phone to her when she got in. “May I have your number?” He asked in perfect politeness.

She looked at him, her perfect smile in place, set to decline. And then she thought……… ’wharrevva

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Hello December…..

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Happy New Month darlins, welcome to December!

How have you all been, I hope the first eleven months of 2016 have been good to you? If it hasn’t; don’t loose hope, don’t despair, that you are alive means there is hope for better.

So, we are in the last month of December; Christmas is around the corner along with its attendant excitement and pressures (yes pressures). The best advice anyone can give or receive in this day is ‘live one day at a time’. I encourage us all with these words, I ask that we do not give in to the pressures of the season. Trust and believe in the one in whom you believe knowing that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask of Him.

So, on a lighter note; my tree is supposed to go up today. Between the eight-to-five and traffic I’m not sure today is possible. But by Saturday my tree will definitely go up. Not feeling very festive, as I’m sure a lot of us aren’t; but this little things go a long way to lighten our hearts and moods. I encourage us to try to enjoy the season, if for no other reason but to appreciate the reason behind the season.

I hear Christmas bells ringing……… Jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way.…….

Have a blessed month, I wish you God’s grace.

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Product Review: Black Opal True Color Liquid Foundation

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Hello Lovelies, it’s been a minute hasn’t it? I’ve missed you all. Hope you’ve been good?

Today on #beautyfriday I’m going to be reviewing Black Opal True Color Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation.

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I got this foundation as part of my beauty haul from Kuddy Cosmetics at the just concluded 2016 Lagos Trade fair. I had seen so many positive reviews about this product I decided to give it a trial.

I paired it with my trusted Mary Kay foundation primer and finished off my beloved with Black Opal deluxe finishing powder in Neutral light (6).

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My thought around the foundation was? A bottle? How will I get every drop of my foundation out in this hard times? Lol! I gave in sha, the sales rep advised I get the foundation in Nutmeg (that was my thought as well). I applied with my foundation brush blending in as advised on the bottle. The product glided on smoothly and only needed extra coverage on areas darkened by acne scars.

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My first thought was….. reddish? But I said to myself not to despair yet. I finished off with my deluxe finishing powder in neutral light and then I looked like myself again! Lol! I love this powder and someday will dedicate an entire post to it.

I finished off my makeup as usual and was off for the day.

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I really put my makeup to test that day. The day was sunny; I had a seminar to be at and Lagos Island market runs interspersed with other errands and I only dabbed once. This is what my face looked like at the end of the day.

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My verdict: I liked it, it held up really well, felt weightless and transfer resistant. I will purchase again.

My rating: 3.7. I can still see the reddish tint.

So, there it is dearies; have you tried the Black Opal Liquid foundation, what was your experience with it?

 

XOXO

Chinma Eke

 

Breaking the Silence: The Situationship 2

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If only he had left it at that. If only he hadn’t tried to push by asking if she will talk to him this time if he came to her house. For that was when she snapped!

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He first thought was to call him and rant. Second thought; send him a stinker. Pour out her anger and give him a piece of her mind. But then she reflected on who she was dealing with. Railing at Chike won’t make any difference. He was immune, numb as a matter of fact to criticism or suggestions for improvement. She decided to send him a message indicating irrevocably that she was done with whatever it was they were doing. This situationship (for lack of a better word) was over.

She tried to calm herself before sending the message. For if there was one thing she always said to herself it was to never act at a time when emotions are running high. So she called Linda. Linda was her bestest friend in the whole wide world! Lol! They had been neighbors, nursery, primary and Junior-secondary school classmates until Linda’s father got an out of station transfer while they were in SS1. They reunited in University, studied the same course, lived in the same hostel; were practically twins.

“Babe!” She greeted Linda when she answered her call.

“Hey love, how are you doing?” Linda replied drowsily.

“I’m good, but I can tell you’re better. You’re sleeping at this time.” Adaeze teased.

“What’s a girl to do nau? Been running myself ragged for two straight weeks, barely had a moment to breathe.” Linda yawned. “What’s up?”

“It’s Chike.”

Linda hissed into the phone.

“I know you’ve never been his fan but can you listen to me; unbiased?” Adaeze pleaded.

Linda sighed. “Ok darling. What had he done this time?”

Linda had never been a fan of Adaeze’s relationship with Chike and had only tolerated him for the sake of their friendship.

Adaeze poured out her pain to Linda, telling her of Chike’s recent exploits.

“It is well with you and Chike o!” Was Linda’s only response for a bit.

“Chike was the first person I called when I heard the news.” Adaeze went on near tears. “Was it too much to ask for him to just be there for me? Lin, step back am I asking for too much?” She got up off the bed and began pacing. “Maybe you are the wrong person to ask; being female and my friend. I should ask a guy. Because, I don’t get it! This is someone I’m supposed to be in a relationship with but has never been there for me; not once! But he sneezes and I run to his side immediately. And Lin, this isn’t me just praising myself; he has attested to that in an unguarded moment, his brother even said the same thing.

Did I put myself out too much, do I appear like I can carry the weight of the world open my shoulders?” Adaeze was actually sniffling at this point.

“Babes, calm down. You are working yourself up over nothing.” Linda said calmly.

“I am calm. In fact I’m done. I can’t keep doing this. I intend to formally break it off not the unofficial; drifting apart things and we will come back together again! Clean break!” She said affirmatively, wiping her tears.

“My dear; like I said you need to be calm and really think about this.”

“Babes, I’ve thought about it. Can I really continue like this?” Adaeze lay back on the bed face-up. She sighed deeply. “This thing of ours is fruitless o! It doesn’t have a future. Chike himself told me that although he denies it but he said it unconsciously. And you know; n’ibi ere, la ti moo to oro.” Adaeze said in Yoruba, meaning ‘a lot of truths slip out as jokes.’

Both ladies were silent for some seconds.

Linda broke the silence. “You know my problem with this conversation; one word or text from Chike and all your resolve is down in the gutters. Like I don’t know what it is about this guy; na jazz abi? Or is it the age thing? Are you just holding on to him cos you feel age isn’t on your side? This isn’t you Daeze, I can’t understand it. I mean; your exes will strongly testify that this isn’t you. Kilode? I refuse to believe this is love, like how can it be?” Linda asked heatedly. “He’s been trouble from the first moment but you kept on keeping on. You want to change him, are you the Holy Spirit?”

“I ask myself the same questions. I really don’t know what this is about, but I know I’m done.”

“You’re not done until he tries to come back and you stand your ground that you’re done.” Linda reminded her,

“I know. But this is it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes dear I’m sure. Can we talk later, mom needs me now.” She lied to get off the phone for she was very close to tears.

She ended the call and burst into tears. She bawled like a baby. She cried for what could have been, for the lost hope, time wasted, emotional investment and otherwise, for the uncertain future; she cried for all the pain of the moment. And when she was done crying; she composed the text.

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Happy New Month, Welcome to November

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It’s November!!! The month of thanksgiving! How are you all, hope you had a good October?

It’s that time of the year when the thought of the ending year causes us to take stock and count our blessings. However, most of the time we are stuck in counting the things we have prayed for that we are yet to get and we end up feeling frustrated and or discouraged.

I pray for you that as you go through this season you find peace and comfort in knowing God always gives you what’s best for you, at the right time. I pray we all go through this month with thanksgiving in our heart and lips.

Have a great month you all.

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Breaking the Silence: The Situationship

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……….After taking the call, Adaeze’s mom called herself and her siblings and broke the news to them; their father was dead.

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Then the drama began, we all know in Igbo land an African man cannot die a natural death; someone has to be responsible for it.

His family came with the drama; they alleged his wife and children abandoned him and contributed to his death.

It didn’t matter that he had abandoned them as children and didn’t contribute a dime to their upkeep or education. He was their father and that meant they owed him the duty of care.

It didn’t matter that they were mourning the death of a father they never had, all of that didn’t matter; in Africa it rarely does.

It was in times like this Adaeze asked herself if all the pre-wedding fact finding actually makes sense. Because if with all the fact finding people still end up married into horrible families; what’s the point?

Then came the sympathy and the sympathisers, it felt awkward, almost hypocritical.

The period was a difficult one for all involved, the antics of the father’s people didn’t make it any easier. Mrs. Chukwuemeka had to relieve the pain of the separation all over again; accusations flew all over mainly centered on abandonment. Mr. Chukwuemeka’s people were having a field day.

Then came the story peddlers with their false story telling; they said Mrs. Chukwuemeka abandoned her husband because he lost his job and could no longer cater for his family.

In a world where history is written by the loudest voice there also is the belief in silence being golden. Why do we hush our children when they attempt to express themselves, why do we perpetuate the culture of repression with only a few speaking up, and them carrying the day eventually? It’s in every aspect of our culture, we glorify the silence of the multitude and praise or envy the outspoken few. Lol. Some of the most loved and hated celebrities come to mind.

**********

You know that feeling of being surrounded by people yet alone? Adaeze felt it deeply at this time.

Chike; her boyfriend (or so she thought) was the first person she called to share the news with. He didn’t answer his call at the time; no surprise there, Chike had an annoying phone habit; he was always on the phone but never with his phone when you needed to reach him. So she sent him a whatsapp message. He called hours later. Asked all the questions, said all the needed things and killed it with; “Let me see if I can come?”

That saddened Adaeze. It was a Saturday, what was he doing asides hanging with friends? Could he not see she needed him?

He sent a message later; he couldn’t make it!

Absence makes the heart fonder is a big lie! A more accurate maxim is; nature hates vacuum, or out of sight is out of mind! The next day she was on her way from church when he sent a message asking what time she would be home. She replied with an ‘I don’t know’ for at that point she was upset already. What was he coming to do; to comfort her? If her comfort was dependent on him she would probably be in perpetual mourning.

He called. She ignored the first call, he called back. She repeated the same thing her message said.

‘I’m trying to find time to come and you are being difficult. Just tell me when you will be home?’ He had said clearly exasperated.

Not wanting to get into an argument with him at the time, she ended the call.

He sent a message; ‘Don’t ever end the call on me again.’

Lol! She was done, and this time for good. How Chike could make this difficult time she was in about himself was beyond her. He was always doing that. She had known him for two years and in those two years he had never been there for her. Theirs was the classic situationship where he took all she could give but gave little or nothing.

Birthdays, other joyful moments; he always made excuses. Traffic, something came up, illness, all this were excuses he used to avoid being there for her. Whereas the reverse was the case with her. She was there for him when he sneezed, every event, occasion during their two years; if she knew about it, she would be there. And it wasn’t just her praising herself, he had also attested to it.

She remembered how they met, it was through a joint venture their companies had. In reality, she has been the one to chat him up. Maybe that was where the issue lay. It’s no secret most guys can’t handle being propositioned. Maybe that was why he had never valued her or their relationship. Theirs was a relationship that had never been defined. They weren’t even friends with benefits for they was nothing to benefit from it. They were more or less sexual partners or in a ‘situationship’ for lack of a better word. Well, whatever the case; she was done. Really truly done. For two years she couldn’t think of a 3 month stretch when they were together, but there were stretches that long where they were apart.

What she couldn’t understand was why he didn’t want to let her go. He had said to her severally that she annoyed him but every time she tried to break it off, he refused. This wasn’t the first time she had tried to end the relationship but he always refused. Well. She was done, he just didn’t know it yet.

*********

He came by 3 weeks later. He came with a mutual friend. She ignored him. Ain’t no time for rubbish. It was a Saturday and her family was home so that helped to mask her ignoring him. Adaeze didn’t care though! A week later he sent a message asking if her ignoring him when he came to her house was good. And I’m her mind she was like; ‘I hope this young man is ok’?

Like really he couldn’t see anything wrong with his actions? That must be done serious shit. She ignored the message. It was a whatsapp message so he will be able to tell it had been read but she wasn’t going to respond to it. 2 weeks later he sent another message that he was in the neighborhood and could he stop by?

‘Okay.’ She had responded.

If only he had left it at that. If only he hadn’t tried to push by asking if she will talk to him this time if he came to her house. For that was when she snapped!

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Let’s Talk About This Thing Called Karma…

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Karmathe spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). It’s that principle/ law that is invoked when something similar to what has been dished by a person befalls the person (usually of the horrible kind). It’s akin to the biblical principle of doing unto others as you want to be done to you.

So, say Mabel snatches Bisi’s husband; Kunle, the law of Karma dictates that Kunle will also be snatched from Mabel and she gets to feel Bisi’s pain. We’re all familiar with the way karma works and we are quick to invoke and cite it when this things occur. Cue Branjelina divorce and Wendy Williams’ ecstatic; you lose them how you get them!

However, there are somethings unclear to me about karma. Like; where does it begin and where will it end? The parties used by karma, how are they selected, are they unwilling tools or people who have their own share of karma coming up and are used to further the cause? Does karma always repay like for like or does retribution sometimes come in another form?

Let’s consider my questions:

Where does karma begin and where does it end? With Mabel and Bisi’s example above; did the trail of terrible happenstances begin with Mabel snatching Kunle or is Mabel a tool in the universe serving Bisi her own dose of karma? When the latter is the case and we cannot justify why a man will walk away from a woman as wonderful as Bisi; we blame it on bad judgement, we explain it away that good things happen to bad people or good old jazz. But if we can find even the slightest hint of Bisi having done same to another woman in the past we happily hi-five the universe! Karma is a bitch and it knows everyone’s address! Lol. So, if indeed the bad cycle began with Mabel, where will it end? If Mabel is able to lock down the man and he doesn’t get snatched do we conclude that karma has run its course or can the trail continue to the next generation or perhaps to people around her? If you ask me……..

Let’s move on to the parties in karma; how are they selected; are they unwilling tools in the hands of the universe or people who have their own share of karma coming up? If they are mere pawns in the game of life what happens to them afterwards? After they have been used to punish the deserving person do they then get punished? Because most likely they would have committed the sin offence for which the other person was punished. Let’s look at a character like Lucious Lyon (the original evil genius); when karma will come calling for Lucious, unless the vessel is a Lucious clone I think the person should get a medal of honor. Lol! Taking Lucious down should be a good deed, a fast-track to sainthood! Seriously, they should be no retribution for whoever brings him down, but the way I see it you cannot achieve that wearing white hats. You have to be as sneaky, or worse than he is to take him out. Hence my plea for freedom from karma for the vessel used in taking him down. Bringing Lucious down should actually be considered restitution for even the worst offender. I’m sure some of us will feel I’m obsessing over a fictional character so much but they are a lot of Lucious’ out there who continue to evade karma while everyone around him suffers, and like the saying goes; every day for the thief…….. When that day comes for people like Mr. Lyon, I hope karma stops there!

My final question on karma for this article is; does it always repay like with like. Similar payback for similar transgressions. Like if you steal, your karma is you will be stolen from, or will karma pay you back in more stringent measures? Who gets to decide? Is there a weighing scale or does karma serve as it pleases?

Oh, and here’s another question I have on karma; say a person has been a horrible person in the past and has a change of character; faith based or otherwise. How do you escape karma? Using Mabel and Bisi’s example above; let’s say in a few years, after a few children, Mabel changes; acknowledges her wrong, will an apology to Bisi and perhaps the whole world suffice to erase karma’s memory or what? How does she evade or assuage karma?

So let’s discuss. I would like some clarifications on this thing called Karma and how it acts. Is there a manual that can be studied so as to avoid it or is it an: you know it when you see it thingy?

PS: The Mabel-Bisi-Kunle illustration is to point out how karma acts in certain circumstances and is not about Kunle being a grown man who can or cannot be snatched. Let’s not get into that.

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Karma Image Credit: Shutterstock

Breaking the Silence: And the News Came

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I’m not much of a sharer. I prefer to share my thoughts and imaginations on air, to strangers and friends.

A friend once told me I have a hyperactive imagination. Lol! I’m owning it. I do, so what? A lot of my experiences have been shared through my writing. Some truth, some fiction. You know what they say; truth is stranger than fiction.

I sometimes think my life is too boring. I always long for excitement. Matter of fact I can’t really explain my personality type. I’m the one who will be the first to get ready for an event, but 30 minutes into it; having seen everyone and smiled to jaw aching point, I’m ready to go home and cuddle with a soapy book or movie and a smoothie or tigernut milk. Lol. Soon as I have that, I’m looking for the next exciting outing; and the circle continues.

So here goes the Breaking the Silence series. A diary series of the twenty-something lady. I invite you to step into my imagination with me; I haven’t written in a long while and as such I’m rusty. Coupled with that some of this series will be written in the first person pronoun (which I have difficulty doing but as it is a diary series I have to try) except when Adaeze is narrating. I hope you like, I hope you enjoy, and as usual; lemme know what you think.

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We have a culture of silence, it’s ingrained in us. Just like our culture of respect for elders, fear for authority, there is also a culture of silence. We all want to keep up appearances, and when it’s not particularly about keeping up appearances, it’s about not showing our shame to the whole world. It’s that inate desire not to open ourselves to the world. We are all guilty of this. Lol, just writing this reminds me of a recent happening that involved my ten year old cousin. He had done something extremely incorrigible and my sister commented on the believability of it. She said; if I say this outside, nobody will believe me. And my response was; who asked you? How can you be answering questions not asked?

It might sound hilarious but it is very true of us. We don’t share, regardless of the fact that sharing may help someone. Or maybe it’s about the fact that everyone has their own issues; the person you’re sharing with has greater problems than you do. I overhead someone say; a lot of people’s current situation is such that if you come to them with a problem, by the time they share theirs you will end up trying to solve theirs first. But then; I think that’s the whole essence of sharing. The saying goes; a problem shared is a problem solved. Abi?

Another danger of not sharing is; if it’s an event that involves more than one person, the sharer controls the narrative. There’s this saying that the hunter will continue to triumph in the story of the hunter and the lion until the lion begins telling his own story. History has always been written by the victor because who writes history will always ensure he writes it such that he emerges the conqueror. So when we keep quiet, we allow others other than ourselves to control the narrative. This Adaeze found to be her predicament.

Adaeze was born into a family of four children; she had the privilege (or not) of being born as the spare, lol (for those who don’t know; the spare child is that child not occupying any particular ‘important’ position; there’s the first child- who doubles as the first son or daughter, then there’s the first son or daughter (opposite gender of the first child), then there’s the last child (lastborn). For the ‘royal or dynastic’ families, the second son can be referred to as the spare for the first son, but in Adaeze’s case; she was the third child in a family of four. She had an older brother and sister (Austin and Ngozi respectively), and she had a younger brother- Michael who was the last born. She was named Adaeze not because she was the ‘Ada’ i.e. first daughter in Igbo culture but because she was named after her father’s sister, whose name was Adaeze (Ngozi was named after her paternal grandmother).

Adaeze’s parents had been separated for as long as she could remember. Probably happened almost immediately after Michael’s birth. None of the children knew the cause of the breakup, and it was either all the adults around were not willing to tell what they knew or they truly didn’t know. All four children were raised by their mother who was a business woman petty trader.

Growing up was tough. It was obvious even to the blind that Mr. Chukwuemeka wasn’t supporting his family. He wasn’t catering for his children. It was Mrs. Chukwuemeka (she didn’t change her name because they were not legally divorced) who paid all the bills- rent, school fees, feeding, etc etc. Adaeze’s mom scrimped and saved and managed to put her children through school; ensuring they all had at least a first degree.

Adaeze and her siblings were raised in a home that was a kind-off church extension. Mommy was very involved in their church and the children grew with a love for and personal relationship with God which saw them also involved in the church.

 

**********

 

On that fateful Saturday morning, Adaeze had rolled out of bed thirty minutes earlier. She was an early riser and if she didn’t get to her chores before the sun was up, chances are those chores won’t get done that day. She was loading the washing machine when her mom’s phone rang. Her mom was in her room and had dropped her phone in Adaeze’s room. She picked the phone and went into her mom’s room.

Her natural curiosity had her looking at the phone screen before handing it to her mom. It was James, a cousin on her father’s side. James was the only one on the father’s side of the family who was very friendly with Adaeze’s family. The rest of the family was estranged from them as a result of the separation. As usual in such separation issues; it had to be the fault of the wife.

After taking the call, Adaeze’s mom called herself and her siblings and broke the news to them; their father was dead.

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Up & Out of the home in 30 mins- my daily beauty routine

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Anyone who knows me and follows this blog knows I’m the diy chic. I love and use a lot of natural products. I’m not out to knock the beautician’s hustle; but I believe  there’s a lot of natural ingredients we can use in its closest to natural form as possible befire its refined by the cosmetics company and a minute quantity of it sold to us at an exorbitant price with lots of skin-harming preservatives. 

Because I love diy, I tend to have a lot of stuff to experiment with. Space is one constraint I struggle with in my closet and later in the post, I will introduce Makespace a storage and organising facility which I hope can help me with this, but first lets go through my beauty routine.

I reviewed my face soap- R&R Liquid black soap here. And my go to body oil- Vanity oils Skin Toning therapy  here.

In today’s post, I’m going to take us through my daily beauty routine and the products I use.

In the morning, I wash with my face using a soft baby towel (I’m holding out for a foreo Luna mini face brush- do I have any volunteers?).


I follow that with my tumeric-gram flour-bentonite clay mixture face mask.

I bought them all separately from Jules therapy. You should visit their online shop, they have a lot of good stuff for the diy chic.

I make a paste of the tumeric mixture by mixing with water or lime juice for an added punch, or coconut oil when my skin feels dry; and I apply directly to clean skin.

Rinse off after 5-15 minutes and you’re good to go. Tumeric is a herb that’s good for acne treatment, oil control, etc. I should do a separate post on tumeric and it’s numerous uses soon.

I brush my teeth, pack my bag and do some other things while the mask is on my face.

I don’t use the tumeric face mask on all mornings, on the days I don’t; I cleanse with Dermatess facial cleanser. It’s a local product I’ve found to be as effective as Marykay Blemish control toner.

Depending on what time of the month it is; I either follow with neo-medrol acne lotion (or Marykay Acne treatment gel) or I skip that step and go right to my moisturiser.

My morning moisturiser is Marykay timewise pore minimises. It’s the step 2 in the micro demabrasion set.

Next up, I follow with Marykay foundation primer- spf 15 and the rest of my makeup routine (that’s a post for another day).

Next up; I need to dress up. I approach my closet which is full and bursting at the seams, with me having to store some clothes in bags above the closet.

It is very scattered.

A few weeks ago, I learned about a company called makespace they are a self-storage facility. That help you keep your personal stuff which you don’t need atm and you can retrieve them as needed.

I’m not sure they are in Nigeria atm, but I could sure use them. Please MakeSpace get back to me on if you’re in  Nigeria presently; I could sure to with some space.

So, I rumage through my closet for something to wear (‘coz of the space constraints I have clothes hanging in themselves with one hanger holding as many as 3 clothes). I get dressed, pick a matching shoe and I’m off to work.

Evening

Tired, ready to fall into bed, but I always ensure I take off my makeup before bed.

I use Johnson’s no more tears baby wipes to take off makeup. Then I follow with facial cleanser and Marykay Micro- demabrasion scrub twice a week. I cleanse, moisturize with vanity oils skin toning therapy and it’s off to bed for a sound sleep.

I couldn’t show my show and bag closer on here cos it’s FULL, bursting and impossible to organise. Lol! Short of extending beyond my room I see no other option to create space except storage- which is where Makespace will come in.  Makespace is not just about storage, they also organise your stuff in your home. Get in touch with them today and check out their self storage locations.

Also, share your daily beauty routine with us. We would love to hear from you.

XOXO

Chinma Eke

How To: Tigernut Milk/ Smoothie 

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A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a post on how to make tigernut milk. This peaked my interest for 2 reasons:

1. I’m lactose intolerant and welcome any alternative to dairy.

2. I grew up eating tigernut ‘ofio’ as we called it growing up; I’m so impressed we could make milk out of it.

3. I read up on it and it’s so nutritious.

So, I bought a large batch and followed the directions I found online; which I will share below.

Ingredients: 

The main ingredient is the Tigernut

For the smoothie you’ll need:

  • Ginger
  • Bananas/ Avocado pear
  • Lime/ Lemon/ Orange

1. Wash the nuts thoroughly and soak in water for about 2-3 days. This will make blending easier on your domestic blender; or if your blender is up to it; you can blend right away.

If you soak; store in the refrigerator so it does not ferment.

2.After it has soaked; transfer to the blender and put about 5oo – 750ml water to help it blend.

Blend at high speed for 5 minutes at a minute intervals.

3. Sieve. Using a cheese cloth or any sieve that guarantees only the milk will go through. I like this mini hand sieve; I find it easier to manage. But the downside to it is I have to use my hand to strain.

You might nwed to reblend as you will find not all the nuts will blend on the first go. For a concentrated milk; blend With pre-sieved milk or if you don’t mind; reblend with fresh water.

With this; your milk  ready. You can drink immediately or refrigerate. It tastes so good.


I also tried blending with ginger and it tastes like kunu.


Tigernut Smoothie

To make this; add some bananas, ginger and a dash of citric acid I.e. Orange, lime or lemon to slow down the banana’s oxidation rate.


Blend together and you have delicious creamy smoothie.

I also tried an avocado pear variant, and it tasted good as well.

I typically make 2 days worth and store in the refrigerator in smoothie bottles. It’s as filling as it is delicious.

Try it today and share your tigernut recipes.

XOXO

Chinma Eke 

Happy New Month, Welcome to September 

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It’s September! The year is wounding down.  How are y’all doing? Hope August was good for you?

Each day presents an opportunity to do better, to take the joys, pains and experience of the past and do better.

I pray for us all that this month will bring exceedingly abundantly above all that we have asked in Jesus name; amen.

Have a blessed month!

XOXO

Chinma Eke

Before Getting Pro Makeup; Read these tips

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Hello dears, how have you all been?

This week’s post on #beautyfriday is both a post and a rant. Lol.

So, my friend got married recently, and I gave in to pressure and allowed my face to be beat professionally. Here are a few things I observed and  few tips I have to give;

1. If you are the bride (or the celebrant); have a makeup trial prior to your big day so you agree a look with the mua and ensure he/she sticks to it. 

Agree brands and products, read product labels, ensure you are comfortable with what will be used on your face.

2. Never let the MUA touch your face with dirty hands or dirty instruments.

This might sound like a given, but you will be amazed how a lot of things slip through the cracks in the rush against time. Ensure all hands, brushes and applicators are clean and if something accidentally drops in the floor; please ensure it’s cleaned before it comes in contact with your face (And the hand that picks it as well). 

3. Work with a makeup artist who respects time; not one who will spend all day making you up and leaving you rushing to catch-up. 

4. Now this is for the mua: dear Mua, unless it’s a makeover don’t change the client’s look. You are meant to accent and highlight not change. Don’t have your client looking so different from herself such that she is unrecognizable. Lol! 

what

This is one of the looks for the day

People said I looked years older! 

Me on a regular day

You be the judge. 

And who says I have to have pro-makeup? Why can’t I just #diy?

Product Review: Vanity Oils Skin Toning Therapy

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Hello darlins,

 

This week on #productreview I have another #buyNaijatogrowtheNaira product review: Vanity Oils Skin Toning Therapy.

I stumbled on Vanity Oils late last year on my quest for natural oils that could offer quality skincare same as the known brands but with less ‘unknown products’.

Have you taken a look at your regular brands products; there’s so much chemicals you don’t know what they all are.

Product Pricing
The 240ml bottle is priced at N3,500 and delivery within Lagos is N800 (good).
It might seem like a lot to pay, but this bottle will last quite a while before you need to re-purchase.

Product Packaging
So I bought my first bottle in January and I have been a convert since then, but what impressed me with my recent purchase is they have really improved with product packaging.

This is how the products arrived:

In a Ziploc with materials to ensure it travels well (I like!), before the courier packaging.
I prefer the pink bag it used to come in to the ziploc, but…. I have that already so this will do just fine.

It now has a pump head (yippee!) and they even included a spray bottle! Now this is a brand after my heart!

(Pardon the picture quality)

Ingredients
Now this is the koko, it contains 100% pure and natural:
Sweet almond Oil
Grape Seed Oil
Jojoba Oil
Argan Oil
Lemon Oil
Rosemary Oil
Lemongrass Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Olive (Extra Virgin) Oil
Sunflower Oil
Unlike the chemicals and preservatives in the other creams and oils, this is just perfect.

Usage
I apply directly to damp skin; morning and night. It’s safe for face and body, it promotes soft toned smooth skin, gently fades scars and dark spots, reduces and prevents acne and other skin infections, etc.
If you’re searching for a bleaching oil; this is not your product, it gives you a glowy brighter complexion, but won’t bleach you or fade your spots in 7 days (lol).

I’ve used it for months and I can safely say it’s a good product. I’ve had no irritations, not even product adjustment.

Will I buy again; yes, and I recommend it too.
There’s a link to Vanity oils website below, please follow the link to shop and enjoy.
Till another product review; have a blessed week.

PS; this is not a sponsored review, and I will be back to update if I have any issues.

XOXO

Chinma Eke

It is okay not to be okay

Random Thoughts

A perfect stranger was filling out a form with my details and put me down as “Mrs. Grace”. I pointed it out and he said “Don’t worry about it. Shey one day you will become a Mrs.” And then proceeded to give me a speech on the importance of being married, being a Mrs., etc.

I interrupted his monologue and asked, “have you even considered maybe I do not want to get married?” He looked at me in shock for a few seconds (complete with mouth open) and then shouted “God forbid!” And almost started a prayer session.

I quickly changed the subject cos I didn’t want to have to “gracify” him.

The episode got me thinking about the undue pressure we put on ourselves and people around us just because we have this definition of what “okay” should be. You’re not okay if you’re not married. You’re not okay…

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