Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Taking Stock : May 2017

Making: Serious career and life decisions that will determine my future. They were right when they told me that in my 30's I would buckle down with an  undisturbable intense focus on what I needed to achieve in this life time. I think my purpose is clear. Now I know exactly what I want... my energy is sooooo focused on how to get there. At the beginning of this year I attended Dine and Dream which has helped me keep track of my progress thus far. (I wrote about it here). I am enjoying this process. I am thankful for this process. With God's guidance, this is a time of clarity and Work, Work, Work...

Drinking: Hibiscus Tea, which I bought for my Dad, but I ended up drinking some of his stash. Only cost me 5000ugx a pack in Nakawa market. Worth it!

ReadingJust finished reading David and Goliath, now that's a book everyone should read and one that I will write about on this blog sometime soon. The book helps you start looking at any disadvantage as an advantage. I highly recommend it. I also just finished reading Shake Hands with the Devil. I had to read the book because I had the opportunity of meeting RomΓ©o Dallaire last year. I was a little embarrassed that I didn't quite grasp who he was at the time.  

Playing: Playing Beyonce's Lemonade in honour of it's anniversary. I love Adele but 'Yonce deserved the Grammy for album of the year. I think last week they released stats saying Lemonade sold more albums last year than any other album released including Adele's, that is some serious shade from the academy. Also loving Tiwa Savage's All Over.

Wishing:  Not wishing for anything right now. Just trying to be present in each moment.

Enjoying: All this reading I have been able to get done! Seven books so far in the year of 2017 according to Goodreads. I hope I beat my book challenge this year. I think I have five more to go. 

Writing: Finished a short story in March. Haven't been writing much since then. Hoping to get back into it this month.  

Loving: BeeWax for the skin! I bought some in Koboko because I left my trusted Shea Butter at home and I needed something thicker than lotion. I stumbled on this product while buying some fresh honey and I feel like I have discovered more skin GOLD. We need to do something about this. Just know I am hatching a business plan...

Eating: Eating everything and anything. My healthy eating plan went out the window after spending so many weeks upcountry. You have to eat what is available! No shame...

Needing: To learn to be a little bit more assertive in my relationships. I am actually working on this.

Wearing: The same dress I bought from Mr. Price a while ago.It needs to be banished to the back of the closet. It's actually the striped one I wore in my last Taking Stock blog post. It is too too much now, I need to give my other dresses some love.

Knowing: That prayer can help you get through some very trying moments. Must always remember to talk to God. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

Thinking: Ummm.....where do I begin?

Giggling Over: Erika from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She's my new favorite!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The People Factor by Van Moody - A Book I Praise hands Emoji

Do you ever find managing  the relationships in your life  depressing, challenging, confusing, tiring, baffling, hard, surprising, humbling etc?

Are you looking for a book that will give  you good heart to heart basic guidance on how best to nurture all types of relationships in your life?

I found this book after particularly painful experience. I was angry with myself for allowing a certain person into my life only to be betrayed. I felt I had been naive and that I needed to learn how to better manage my relationships. This book was just filled with gem, upon gem, upon gem, upon gem of wisdom. It's another book I have spoilt with my highlighter. It discusses all relationships namely family, friendships, work and even romantic ones. I have to mention that it is based on a christian perspective, there are many references and stories lifted from the bible.

"This is one of  the reasons I urged you in chapter 1 to know yourself, acknowledge your secrets in safe ways, and make it a priority of getting your heart healed."
Biggest lesson from the quote above  is to know yourself, In the book, He even  requests that you ask your most trusted circle what they think about you so that you can be aware of your person and how you come across to people. I did ask my close circle and at first they were slightly startled by my questions but because they are my people they gave me some good feedback to work on.

"One of the immutable laws of relationships is the law of sacrifice, which means everyone involved must enter into and remain in a relationship with a willingness to give, not to take."
 "Understand that giving is rarely about the gift; it is about the heart."

In other words if someone doesn't know how to give in ANY relationship, y'all are gonna have issues! Don't even waste your time hoping for change. Takers eventually exhaust the company they are in. It's draining being around such people and you'll resent being taken for granted. I have learnt to be observant in the very beginning and to see how a person behaves.  Also it's not about what people give you, its about the sincerity in giving. Don't be fooled by lot's of money, social circles or elaborate gifts look at the person's heart. Are they really making the effort to give you something special, material or non-material?

"A good candidate for a relationship is a person who places a premium on integrity ."
 "Look for a quality human being, and do not enter into a relationship until you are certain that the person is someone of character who can receive and multiply what you have to give."
I love the above quotes. It is common knowledge but how many of us actually really consider this? Most especially for friendships, colleagues you confide in, and romantic relationships.  A lot of times peer pressure gets in the way. In some environments  good character and integrity are not valued and such people are usually labeled as 'too proud'; it may be difficult for a person to choose to associate with the 'goody two shoes.' But to avoid getting hurt you are advised through this book to choose wisely.

"In relationships understanding  motives is vital"

That just goes without saying. You have every right to know why someone wants to be your friend. You have every right to question who you allow into you inner circle. You may not be able to avoid bad things happening to you but you can certainly limit the risk by questioning motives early on.

"Learning to be selective about the people with whom you walk closely will accomplish atleast two valuable  objectives for you. One, it will empower you to surround yourself with the kinds of people you need to be around- people who will help you advance toward your destiny, not derail or distract you. Two, it will keep you from wasting  your most precious commodity-your time-on the wrong people."
Van Moody gives the reader permission to not only question motives but also be selective. If you know yourself then you should know the types of people that are good for you. Be very careful about who you let into your close circle. You may find after you read this book that you need to gently and tactfully start cleaning house.

"People who add value to your life will honor God above all. They will  not bow to peer pressure. they will be secure enough in who they are that they really do not care whether others approve of them, as long as God is pleased."
"If you are in a relationship with someone who does not respect and honor God, you cannot expect that person to respect or honor you. If you want people in your life, first look to see if they are faithful to God."
This is a bit of  a touchy subject, because not everyone believes in God, But I am writing from my personal experience and I do believe in God. I have learnt  the difference between those who attend church and believe in God and those who 'respect and honor God' . trust me, there is big big BIG difference.

"Loyalty does not sacrifice people for personal gain."
The quote above just speaks to a person's character, if someone cares about you they will not sacrifice you for their own personal gain and you should not put yourselves in a vulnerable position with someone who does otherwise.

I really enjoyed reading this book, I gained a lot from it. I am still learning how to navigate through relationships and this book provided me with some essential guidance. I frequently find myself flipping through it and reading through parts that I previously highlighted so that I can reflect and internalize them once again

I am saving this book for my teenage children, it will save them many tears

Have you read any good books on relationships lately or even been given some good advice? Comment below would love hear your thoughts 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes - A book I Heart Emoji

I want that ring and that hair! 

I am extremely late to this party, I only just finished reading this book a month ago. My friend Marianna recommended it to me. It's been out for a long while now and a lot of people have written about adopting a ' Year of yes' into their lifestyle. Surprise...surprise I won't be, but I enjoyed this book. I hope by the time you are reading this blog post, you have atleast watched some  of her series namely Grey's Anatomy or Scandal. I know people who stay up until 4.00 am on work days just to finish her series. There was time when I crushed on all the good-looking men in Grey's Anatomy, until she killed them all off one by one 😒😒😒. I kind of expected Shonda to be an unabashed titan  like her character Cristina...

"If you want  crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something else." ~ Christina yang, Grey's Anatomy

If  you watch Grey's Anatomy them you know that Cristina takes  no  bull' from anyone. Christina is played by the actor Sandra Oh.  The character is a no nonsense trailblazing kind of woman. Love her or hate her you can't help appreciate how she's totally altered the narrative of a women in today's working world. Cristina is hungry, hungry for success in her career as heart surgeon. She will sacrifice everything else in her life. Relationships, marriage even having babies are all things she is willing to NOT have in order to succeed. The only thing she fights for is her friendships.  Shonda once said Cristina is the one character she created that she feels closest too. In fact in her book she talks about  the importance of creating this character to encourage women to be confortable making their life choices regardless of people's expectations..  Shonda has adopted children and she has publicly said she will not get married. Some very interesting  points are made in this book and I do love Shonda's honesty.

"I have been interviewed by Oprah three times. Here is what I remember about being interviewed by Oprah, a white- hot flashing light behind my eyes. A strange numbness in my limbs. A high pitched buzzing sound in my head."

I enjoyed reading this book because it totally dismantled some of the misconceptions I have about her. Who'd have thought the Queen of TV is afraid of the Queen of  the Talk Show? Shonda is a titan but she is also shy and vulnerable. A very unique combination  that makes her human. She has worries, she has doubts about herself, and who knew that until her Year of Yes she spent most her time at home or in Shondland drumming up TV gold? The book is written in such an informal style that one almost feels like it would make a great podcast series too. I was taken aback because  I expected great prose and poetry from her I guess . I am not sure why,  I just did. It was a lovely surprise, and especially entertaining that she had to drag herself kicking and screaming through the first few months of her Year of Yes.

"I thought saying YES would feel good. I thought it would feel freeing. Like Julie Andrews spinning around on that big mountain top at the beginning of The Sound of Music."
 "I mean don't worry. I'm not going to pass out, die or poop my pants. Mainly because just by telling you it could happen, I have somehow neutralized it as an option."

It's  these lines in the book (see above)  that make this book funny. There may be moments when you find yourself cracking up out loud in the doctor's reception as you wait for your appointment.

" LESSON ONE: Ditch the Dream, Be a Doer, not a Dreamer"
I think the quote above has circulated many many times. It's one of her most famous speeches to the Dartmouth College class of 2014. It's a very educative and hilarious speech which you can  read in the book as well. She didn't start out wanting to write for TV but she took a class and that's where it all began.
"What's your goal? I want to take over the world through television. I said it jokingly. But I was not joking. I was never joking. And now its happening. On the stage at the Lincoln center with Viola Davis standing beside me."

Thank you Ms Rhimes!

photo credit: A.V club

Monday, 6 March 2017

Quiet By Susan Cain- A Book I Heart Emoji

Have you ever read a book and it just changes the way you look at the world? Have you ever read a book and it changes the way you see yourself? This was that kind of book for me. I stumbled upon it on that very first shelf  at Aristoc in Garden City  Mall, the one right near the entrance with all the 'how to be a success' books that we Ugandans love reading. Quiet is all about the introvert personality type and how we need to learn to appreciate it's strengths. So in line with the last amateur book review I did. Here are some of my favorite quotes and what I loved about the book...

"Introverts prefer to work independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation"

This totally changed the way I work. Because for the first time I could accept that as an introvert I don't enjoy brainstorming meetings unless I have had time beforehand to generate ideas alone. I personally prefer to take time to sit with a challenge and then return with solutions to the group. When this is possible, then that's what I do. This doesn't mean we should get rid of brainstorming meetings , just that we should encourage other methods of idea generation. What I found so great about this book is how Susan Cain addresses the concept that work places are built to support the 'extrovert ideal' . We now have see-through cubicles and open offices. Meetings can occur on a big open table rather than in a specific room.This is not bad thing it just means that if you have any introverts on the team they may not be comfortable and this may interfere with their work. According to Susan our  different personality types mean our brains are wired to react to stimuli differently, apparently you can identify this in the first few months of a babies' life! You need to read this book. 😏😏😏

I work better in solitude but I believe we've all been conditioned to act otherwise so I feel horribly guilty when I take that time to myself.Warren Buffet is one of the most successful leaders in the business world.There is a great example in the book of how his introverted nature has helped him succeed. A lot of great inventors. writers, artists, innovators worked and work well in solitude so I am taking a leaf from them.  Just read the quote below about children's favorite, Dr Seuss.

"Even the considerable more cheerful Theodor Geisel (otherwise known as Dr Seuss) spent his workdays ensconced in his private studio, the walls lined with sketches and drawings, in a bell tower outside his La Jolla California house. Geisel was a much more quiet man that his jocular rhymes suggest."

This book also talks about the history of glorifying certain personality types in different cultures. Not just our nationalities and ethnicity but our education culture and work culture. I was mind blown by this because for some reason it never crossed my mind how much this could affect the success of a person. I  am now pondering what personality types we appreciate more within the different  cultures in Uganda. Does it defer with gender, age or societal roles? I am curious. One of my favorite chapters in the book is called ' The Myth of Charismatic Leadership' .The insights on the pressures at Harvard's Business school were VERY interesting (see quote below)

"The school also tries to turn quiet  students into talkers. The professors have their own 'Learning Teams ', in which they egg each other on with techniques to draw out reticent students."

I think while it may not be as intensive in other levels of education. Most systems are geared to get pupils or students to be extrovert-like. Once again, this is not a bad thing only that it made me consider for the first time... why are we playing to only one personality type? If we have all this information about how babies grow and develop, why not try a few new things? Like not marking the quiet shy  smart pupils low in the end of the year school report just because they did not put their hand up in class often.

"If personal space is vital to creativity, so is freedom from 'peer pressure'."
The pressure to fit-in is there throughout life. If you are lucky you start to not always seek everyone's approval as you get older. But in your school years especially when you hit puberty it is ALL about NOT standing out. So how does one create a world for children that supports these challenges as per the personality types? I don't know, but Susan's book brings up a lot of those questions for us. Even some great ones about parenting.

"If there is only one insight you take away from this book, though, I hope it's a newfound sense of entitlement to be yourself. I can vouch personally for the life-transforming effects of this outlook. Remember that  first client I told you about, the one called Laura in order to protect her identity? That was a story about me. I was my own first client."

I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, but mostly introverts. It's a great educative insightful read!

Thanks Ms. Cain

P.S: Check out the Quiet Revolution website here

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Lost & Found by Sarah Jakes - A Book I Heart Emoji

Books - Book Review - Happily Flawed

I randomly stumbled on her old blog posts and some You tube videos two years ago. I love a good story about the struggle of life. So naturally when I discovered a copy of the book at Aristoc I bought it. I was not disappointed.  The lady can write!! It is HER voice. She sat down and put her OWN pen to paper, I snift no ghost writers while I was reading. I am not an expert book reviewer so instead  I'll share some of my favorite quotes from the book and what I learnt from reading it.

"At a young age I learned that people smile big, hug tight and then go home and drown in their tears. I learned that sometimes you go to church to be healed, but if you aren't careful, people's approval can become more important than the message."
I appreciate the honesty of this statement. I mean I don't think Sarah's the only Christian who feels like this. I think that this is one the reasons she stumbled so many times a long the way. The teenage and quarter-life reflections she writes about in the book gives the reader so many 'food for the soul ' moments. Some days I had to stop to take time to internalize the wisdom. Her voice was so refreshing for me because it was authentic and insightful, definitely not the ordinary cookie cutter preacher's kid book. She may have felt she was alone but many young people struggle with their path and their faith.πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

"Our insecurities create holes inside us that make us believe we can't be used."
We make mistakes as humans, and some of us punish ourselves for what can seem like an eternity. Given Sarah's background, most people may be a little  stunned at her life story. She's a pastor's daughter, and not just anyone's but Bishop T.D Jakes! She found herself pregnant at thirteen.  I guess many people had written her off but all these experiences helped make her who she is today. For one , It helped her write this great book. (I promise you this girl can write! 😁😁😁)

"You can't ask directions from people who are lost themselves"
The quote above speaks for it self...πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

"So often we look for Him to calm the storms of our lives . But there are times when the storm can't go away because we need the rain." 
Sometimes our worst moments bring out the best in us. I hate typing that sentence because it is hard to always see the bigger picture. But I can honestly say some very challenging moments changed me for the better.  Sarah gives us the impression through her book that her life at one point consisted of her walking from one bad decision into another. I think Sarah just draws this point out effortlessly in her writing. She doesn't' make her relationship with God perfect. She struggles to find purpose like everyone else. She eventually has to take responsibility for her messes and clean them them up one by one. Near the end of the book we see her ' Come to Jesus' moment manifesting in her making better decisions for herself and her children. If you follow her on social media you'll see she is using her experience for the good of others. I enjoy watching her preaching sessions every now and them. Once again her style is her own not like father's or her mother's. she knows who she is.

"I am convinced how you handle a set back  will determine the strength of your come back." 
And we know this life will throw things at us that we never dreamed of, good and bad. But I totally agree with this statement. How we handle the challenges will not only determine how we come back but who we are. I can't tell people I am a grown up if I don't display maturity in my actions.In the book  Sarah has to accept that her marriage has failed and start healing herself. Not easy with so much pressure around her to get it right all the time.

I  loved reading this book. As I mentioned throughout the post ,  I was so surprised and how well Sarah Jakes Roberts can string her words together. Her storytelling is almost poetic for me. The vulnerability in telling her story is the cherry on the cake because it makes it all so very real. No superficiality here.  I can't lend this book out because I have underlined almost every sentence.πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ I think she says the things most of us think but are afraid to say when we discuss faith.

That said I recommend this book to anyone  who may be struggling with their faith.

Thank you Mrs Roberts!

Have you read any good books about faith lately? Comment below.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Meet My Friend 'Memory of All Rejections'

Last night as I lay in bed contemplating this third decade in my life.

I thought of my friend,  ' Memory of All Rejections '

A constant companion from childhood.

Right from that very day, during morning break at nursery, I had just finished my yummy biscuits with my hot chocolate, then I wondered to the seesaw and when I asked them if I could play,  they sneered and sent me away.

And because some moments of rejection in my life don't have logical explanations, my friend and I will come to a common  irrational conclusion that  'i'm not good enough.' because during  internal one -sided conversations of the mind all is plausible.

In fact my friend wears a t-shirt with  'Not good enough' printed on the front, least I ever forget why people may have left

Not pretty enough.

Not clever enough.

Not funny enough.

Not smart enough

Not cultured enough

Not organised enough

Not friendly enough

Not brave enough

Not daring enough

Not much of anything really.

My friend takes every one of those moments when someone told me or treated me as though I was nothing and  he molds and folds them  all together.  No matter how unique each situation is, he molds and folds them ALL together then stores them in his suitcase

He also carries around some sachets of a magic dust called 'Doubt'

On any occasion, when I feel as though a good opportunity has been placed before me

Rejection opens his suitcase pulls out the play dough that has noticeably gotten bigger and bigger over the years, and he  floods my mind with all the times we concluded that I wasn't good enough

Then when he's done flooding my head with ALL those memories, he sprinkles some shiny black glittery doubt on top of my head, just to ensure if there ever was any seed of hope in me that might, just might blossom into a 'You did it!', that sprinkle of dust makes it very clear 'you can't and you never will.'

And sometimes before I  have even stepped forward to achieve anything... because of ALL those thoughts, I am already done.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Taking Stock: February 2017

Making: Time to write is a struggle. It takes me time to break down a story and turn it into something that flows and makes sense. I don't like being rushed, I feel like stories need time to marinate like a good piece of chicken or meat. I need time to break down the moment and create it's meaning. I have to play with the words to find the right fit and believe me when i tell you it's tough finding the right words and putting them together in the simplest way possible. I have to figure out what the message is and how the reader will receive it. But I am a procrastinator when it comes tough challenges, I am afraid to fail so I wait and wait and wait...till i can't wait anymore because the deadline is looming 😨😨😨. I will have work to change this with my writing. I will have to adapt my weekly schedule. Time to write must be created so my stories have time to marinate. My stories need to be like the best barbecued chicken anyone has ever tasted! 

Drinking: Less milk. I am trying to decrease the dairy and gluten in my life. I think I may have overeaten my share of bread, pizzas , pasta, milkshakes...most especially those freakshakes at Javas(they taste like heaven 😍😍😍 ). Time to clean it up. I have to say sometimes my body resists and tries to trick me into a relapse so to avoid this I am doing it gradually. I now drink black coffee. Also I have given up eggs until further notice.

ReadingJust finished reading 'Too Kill a Mocking Bird' by Harper Lee. I am so sad she never wrote more. I am too scared to read 'Go Set a Watchman" there are too many reviews where people felt the story became inconsistent. I love that she wrote one of the greatest books of all time and then just disappeared for 55 years until the her second book came out. She didn't try to compete with herself . The book she wrote spoke for it itself. 

Playing: Nothing. I have failed to find time to play phone games for the last two years. I don't even play with my nieces and nephews any more. I just buy them stuff. Does this make me a bad Aunty? ummmmm

Wishing: Men wouldn't attach so much negativity to love around Valentine's day. I am tired of hearing them drone on and on about how much they do. I wrote about it here

Enjoying: Outlanders Season 1, The Crown Season 1, Victoria Season 1 and  Underground Season 1

Writing: Creative Fiction

Loving: A new face mask which I wrote about here. And a new hair masque which I will write about eventually. 

Eating: Granola and yogurt, who knew they would make such a good combination? So to the people who've been posting breakfast Instagram pictures... I am sorry for being judgmental about the granola.Also along the lines of eating, I had my first meal at Cafe Ceylon. Totally worth it! I hope they maintain their standards because I shall be returning. The food was tasty and fresh. You know how you can tell that the food was cooked a while ago? I didn't get that feeling with Cafe Ceylon. The rice on my plate was HOTπŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯ and steaming like they  just boiled it.

Needing: To write some blog posts about some of the books I love. 

Wearing: Lipstick. I am loving 'Matte Bad Blood' by Urban Decay  and also African Queen by Livara at the moment. 

Knowing: You can maintain your inner peace and contentment even if people  around you are trying to bring you down. You can do it!

Thinking: Constantly thinking about how to achieve my goals in 2017 both professionally and personally.

Giggling Over:  Married to Medicine Season 4, Toya pays $10,000 a month in rent!? Eh.... People have money. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

I Wish Some Men Would Get Over Their Valentine's Day Issues

I am tired. Just tired.

Valentine's Day rolls around and I  hear, watch and see the most hateful comments circulating around social media  and the radio, which is incredibly ironic considering the very reason we have St.Valentine's day is because ....

"According to legend, the Roman physician and priest was beaten, stoned, and beheaded for the crimes of marrying Christian couples ... and possibly attempting to convert Emperor Claudius II. Thanks to the marital angle of his story, Valentine became the patron saint of love, young people, and marriages (and also of plague, epilepsy, and beekeepers)." ~ Business Insider

For some reason, I may be melodramatic but some men take it to an unnecessary level. They take  theirs and their peers' negative experiences and dump it on the next women in their life.

The last person I was dating became a totally different person the week before Valentines Day. He stopped talking to me,and spent all his time avoiding me as though I'd pursued him. The special day happened to fall on a  Friday and my friends had a habit of always meeting on Friday, so I left him where he was and went to spend Valentine's day with the people who loved me. Around 5.00pm he called me to ask where I was and one of my friends told me 'invite him'. He arrived to join our group looking extremely sheepish. I decided to let it be because I wanted to enjoy my day. When I returned home,  I found single beautiful rose waiting for me from my Father. The contrasting treatment was so evident . I realized I had to listen to my friends' advice, "this guy is not for you'.

During our very short courtship, we actually causally discussed Valentine's day, in fact what I specifically remember him saying a week before the day was,
 "Why should I be romantic on Valentine's day when I can be romantic on any day?" 
And the first thoughts that came to my mind were...

  • When was the last time you were romantic? 
  • You've been grumpy for the last four weeks. 
  • Isn't it a day for both parties in the relationship to provide romantic gestures for each other? 
  • Who made it a rule that men are the only givers in relationships?

His hash attitude and comments made me lose my zest for Valentine's day. I subtly told him how I felt about the day but I didn't stress or ask for what I wanted.I even forgot that it was about celebrating the people you love, not just your romantic partner. A month after that our relationship deteriorated (not just because of Valentine's day though).

As I wrote at the beginning, I am tired of hearing some men drone on and on about  how much they hate Valentine's day. So when the day dawns I turn the radio off on the way to work to avoid listening to negative messages. There are even men I don't speak to that much, who send me random DM's about how they hate the day. Why? Do I look like I will agree?

 Next year I will  full on rebel by sending small tokens of appreciation to the people I care about. Maybe I'll send some grumpy men a  fridge magnet with the words 'Nothing weak about love' on it. You know what? I will make myself a t-shirt and wear it.

For the men who continue to box all women into the category of 'gold diggers' on Valentine's day , Please grow up, get over it !And don't waste my time or anybody else's with your sorry examples of how much men give and give and give. A good woman will always appreciate a good man no matter their social status.

There is nothing wrong with taking time to show the people you love that you love them. Nothing weak about that. Appreciation does not always equal flowers, chocolates, dinner etc.... In fact why don't you be man enough to sit down with your romantic  other and discuss what Valentine'a day can mean for the both of you instead of yelling all over social media or any other other platform. Oh and please get out of my DMs too!

P.S: I am taking Valentine's Day back for myself and focusing on all the people I love and who love me.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Skin Wars: I Found A Face Mask that Works, I Swear!

Before you read this blog post, let me just clearly state that I am not a skin care expert. I am simply blogging about a product that I have used and it appears to be working well for me.

Now as I said in my last post I have started using all things Shea Butter on my skin because after years of unpredictable breakouts and regular visits from almost-indestructible whiteheads and blackheads, Shea butter is the only thing that cancelled them all out.

At the beginning of the 2017 I was wondering around Garden City Shopping Mall on my lunch break, and I just happened to step into the Eve & Nico Beauty Store to peruse through, I was not looking for anything in particular just some idle window shopping…. and we all know that the Devil makes work for idle hands. Eve & Nico is renowned for having those original world famous brands from abroad that you have been dreaming about purchasing, but not everything in the store is pocket-friendly. So far I have made some good purchases from them but I definitely have to plan for it. Let it also be noted that every time I have entered the shop the customer service has always been great and the ladies are really helpful.  

Anyways I came across a range of soaps from Shea Moisture. And then my eyes zoned in on some face masks right next to them….like I said the Devil took advantage of my idle wondering mind. I picked each skin mask up one by one, and started examining the ingredients. If you have natural hair then you totally understand why I did this. I wanted to know how much of this mask was ‘natural’. My gut said take the healing and hydrating one. I think I was swayed by the the words in the description. Having been a previous product junkee, I am extremely susceptible to the word ‘radiance’. I am working having a chocolate glow like Beyonce’s in her Instagram photos.

Noticing that I was about to make what I thought was an impromptu and useless investment in my current skin care routine, I left the store. I thought that would be the end of it. Long story short, a week later I was still thinking about the product so I decided to treat myself for the new year and I bought two masks at the Eve & Nico in Kisemeti totalling 200k (God help us!)

I committed to one of the masks for three weeks (the one in the picture at the top). On either Friday or Saturday evening after a shower I would leave it on my face for 10 to 20 minutes. I have to be honest and say the mask doesn’t smell very nice, it’s not unbearable but it’s not an appealing girly scent. The consistency is lovely though, it feels like a heavy luxurious cream rather than the usual matty grey mud. You may also find that you won’t make much of a mess slathering it on. When it dries it will not be difficult to wash it off. Your skin should feel very soft and supple afterwards (atleast mine did!).I should mention that I always give my face a gently scrub beforehand and I use a good toner afterwards, followed by my tried and tested shea butter from Livara.

 At first when I started using it, I went back to my internal doubts about whether the effects of most masks are just in our heads. But then I remembered my skin doesn’t lie, it’s always been honest about what works and what doesn’t since my very first teenage breakout. Even if I am feeling good inside it’s very possible for MY skin to look terrible on the outside (it has betrayed me during the most awkward of times, but now all is forgiven).

 So as mentioned earlier for three weeks I committed to one mask, then someone took a photo of me, and I noticed the ‘glow’ and the ‘radiance’. I danced around my room for like 5 whole minutes when I saw the photo. In my three week experiment the only additional thing I added to my routine was the mask. I am not pregnant and don’t have a new boyfriend, therefore according to Maria-Nabatanzi-who-is-not-a-skin-care-expert I think I got some of my skin glow up from this mask. Now of course my skin was already improving from the Livara shea butter products but this just added that little bit of EXTRA!

So if you can afford it I recommend it. After three weeks I still have quite a lot of product left, most likely I shall make it to June/July this year before I need a refill. However I do recommend with my limited expertise, that you make sure you already have a good skin care routine in place that is working for you before adding the mask. I don’t think it will make all you skin problems disappear unless a good routine is in place.

P.S: can we talk about how pretty the Shea Moisture website is and soooo easy it is to navigate…

P.P.S: the photos of the product and the product description are from the Shea Moisture Website

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Skin Wars - The Fight for 'Flawless' Skin.

I'll just work on taking care of myself the best I can
My personal journey to this point has taken TIME. Much more time and energy than I would have liked but such is the process of growth. I am sure we all still carry around with us some unhealed hurts from our teenage years.  Memories of non-acceptance can emotionally scar us. It’s just part of this whole-living-your-life-process. The right tools don’t always make their way into our hands and often people will look at us as ‘weak’ if we want to address emotional issues. One of  the things I have struggled to deal with is my skin issues. When I say skin issues I mean my lack of ‘flawless’ skin. The pressure to look physically 'amazing' is always there. The struggle started in my teens and depending on my priorities I can always drown it out but it will always be there.  I call this struggle the skin wars, because it felt like I was battling with my skin.  I mean the way our skin looks can be tied to our self esteem in such a way that the journey ends up being an internal one before anyone can fix the external. Yes that cliche talk about people working on their inner wellbeing does apply here, maybe some miracle creams and procedures out there do work but some of us haven't got BeyoncΓ© or JLO money so we just have to learn to get comfortable with what we DO have.  

My skin wars began in my teens; the year my hormones kicked into gear. The minute I hit puberty I stopped being the cute little girl. Every thing stretched and got wider and bigger except my boobs and my voice. I don’t remember the first pimple I got, in fact I can’t tell when exactly the pimples and rashes started but they did. I wonder whether that’s a testament to the way my parents had brought up  my siblings and I, that I had never considered the fact that my looks were tied too my value; I was already accepted and loved. Anyways one day my Dad came home with Oxy facial products, he sat me down and explained how to use them. That’s when I realised that my appearance REALLY mattered. From then I  became aware of people's reactions to my skin. People offer unsolicited opinions all the time, you can enter a shop looking for shampoo and the  assistant immediately starts telling you about their best selling skin care range.  I feel like rather than just look for what was best for my body and skin I was taught to fight the pimples which I did for very long while after that.

By 2014 I know I had bought and tried every product available  on a student budget  and working woman budget ( this is  an exaggeration I didn't buy ALL of them but I bought  many many many products!) and actually introducing the famous salicylic acid to my skin made it worse. The amount of high to low end products I used on my skin without research is incredible. It was war. I was fighting against the pimples, thinking that I could tame my skin....
'the second you see a zit invading your face...'
Reduce oil production’
‘Unclog clogged pores’
‘Eliminate black heads’
‘Matte skin with a healthy glow no shine for 8 hours’
‘75% reduction in the appearance of spots in just three hours’

Remember all those slogans? They still use them today.  I even tried tooth paste because my mum came home with a ‘success’ story from a co-worker. Worst of all I even tried baking powder, it totally dried out my skin, my skin looked terribly dry.

As I approached my mid twenties with no sign of change or improvement I felt deflated, I decided to be passive aggressive towards my own skin. I would just spend as little time  as possible on it. I was convinced my skin was a rebel. I gave up on cream washes, scrubs, and special moisturizers for acne; tired of spending huge amounts of money only to see the results disappear after a month. Of course this reflected on my self esteem but I always brushed it off. I could not wear cover up make up because that would just aggravate my skin more.  
Now because I am working on a relationship with God and trying have honest conversations. I prayed about it. It was an issue that was disturbing me. With my new commitment I had to mention it. I had to give God the benefit of the doubt even if I felt it was vain to pray about skin.

Well I am not sure if God answered my prayers I just noticed one day that when I stopped using castor oil on my hair the pimples stopped coming. When my 'expensive' moisturizer finished, I started using a sample of Livara Shea Butter product I had bought from EnrviriZaNacho.  Bella the owner of the shop insisted it would help, and because this was ANOTHER unsolicited opinion on my skin I nodded believing she was just trying to get her next sale. But she was right.  I knew I’d caught on to something, because when I travelled upcountry for work my skin didn’t break out. I waited and waited but the break out never came. Now I am mad because all a long I should have been using a product that my African ancestors knew was 'tried and tested' for thousands of years. Turns out raw Shea Butter has a ton of benefits! Google it.  I can tell you that my skin feels fantastic! I don’t care what flaws anyone sees now it’ s soooo much better than where it was and for that reason I am happy. I am also a loyal Livara customer (note:  I have not been paid to write this. ) 
 I guess all I needed to do is learn to listen and pay attention to my body's needs. I found something that works for me and that is something I hope to teach my children.

The war is over. We are at peace now.


Thursday, 5 January 2017

Be Brave Enough to Take Your Dreams Seriously in 2017

Inspiration + food = Fantastic!

I am heading for Dine and Dream 2017 on Friday 6th January(that's tomorrow). I paid for my ticket and they sent me an e-mail with homework. Yes they gave me homework… and guess what they give me homework before Christmas day!? Who does that? Only people with a REAL VISION for their event I guess. And if I want to be a person with a workable VISION for 2017, I must continue to do this grown-up home work even on the most sacred of holidays. In case you haven’t heard already,  Dine and Dream is a seven hour ‘power packed event’ taking place at Silver Springs Hotel. The theme this year is “looking with innovative eyes for breakthrough results”, and the guest speak is Mr. Julian Kyula, co-founder and Group CEO of MODE, Nairobi.

I thought all I’d have to do on Friday is show up in a nice pretty dress , choose a table near the back to hide my introvert self, feel inspired by all the discussions taking place, share some vague generic new year’s resolutions with the other attendees, eat some good food and go home. My plan was ruined by my thoughts on the amount money I paid for  just one ticket, and the homework e-mail I received. Funnily enough, I need to get my money’s worth out of this event so I am actually glad my plan was annihilated by Joan Mugezi’s e-mail. Towards the end of 2016, I started to mentally deliberate on how to make myself a more organized person in 2017. If you know me well, then you will understand that this is a mammoth task! I thrive in a little messy chaos(that’s how creativity lives…), but sadly it’s time for me to grow up a bit…

The homework I was given was not the ordinary academic stuff. It triggered the parts of me that need a change; the urgency to take charge of my life has been calling. I have to create a mature plan for this year, one that sets  the tone and the standard for the next five years. can you imagine? The Dine and Dream Team have prompted all this introspection before I have even set foot in the building for the event on Friday! At their request I have even found an accountability partner for the year so that  I have no excuses... Amazing...just Amazing

“I spoke at Stanford a couple of years ago and I was amazed to hear that everyone wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I thought that was such an interesting thing to say because usually you find your passion and you become an entrepreneur by nature of what your passion is and figure that out, I think people need to pay their dues a bit and be open to learning I don't think that everyone can all of a sudden have a start up, it's good to get some experience under your belt.”

Tory Burch, CEO at Tory Burch

All over the world as part  of the new year, we have a  human tradition of making resolutions. Let me be honest and say I have never taken mine seriously.  I mean my best friend and I used to write them down on a napkin in the first restaurant we found ourselves in during the first weekend of January. Then being the millennials we are, we’d take a picture and save it for our half-hearted review the following year. The truth is.... over the last couple years I didn’t really know myself well enough to understand what I wanted to achieve in life, which meant I couldn’t create substantial life impacting resolutions. Mine were mostly vague; easy to dismiss, easy to forget.
The good news is I know who I am now. You best believe, I am lovin' putting together the physical proof of my plan. I am going to buy A3 poster paper, colourful post-it notes, glue and a some glitter…..long story short I am going to have fun once I finish scribbling down the first mini rough draft !

I have noticed that some of us rarely speak our dearest dreams out loud, especially those dreams that are closest  to our hearts. Probably because we are scared of the ridicule that might occur if we share our plans when they are still raw and unplanned in our heads. Then there is also the problem of never knowing who’s out to sabotage us in our growth. And lastly what about God’s plans for our lives?  I am sure you've heard the saying if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.

“We’re kids aren’t we?

Yes, kids with grown up powers.” ~ Lang Leav (lullabies)

Don’t be discouraged though, there is some hope and wisdom to this blog post.

I think the fun part of this whole exercise is in the dreaming, and then also in the mechanics of making your dream a reality. More often than not we are so fixated on the end goal, publishing that bestseller, creating a successful startup, losing all that weight, building our dream home, or having the perfect family.  But what if this time you focused on just enjoying the ‘creating’ process? What if you just enjoyed the course of actions you take towards writing your book, saving that money and searching for that piece of land, or even those regular trips to the gym.  That’s where the REAL living of life occurs, in the ‘creating’ process. You might spend 5, or 10 or even 15 years creating your dream and in all that time you don’t want to miss out on the joy. Please... please don’t miss out on the joy of creating because Life will continue to happen without you, like you never existed.. The world will keep on rotating around the Sun. And like I mentioned earlier you won't be here forever, plus they certainly won’t bury you with that beautiful house you built, so you best make sure that right now, while you are breathing  you are enjoying the process.

As a result of the epiphany in the paragraph above,  the anticipation of attending this event has inspired me to clearly articulate my goals without any unhealthy emotional attachment to them. Not only to articulate the goals but to start laying out the steps I will take to achieve them. And here is my DISCLAMER full of wisdom:  If I make them happen fantastic, if not it doesn’t make me any less of a person. What matters most to me is that I attempted too with some serious gusto! I hope it’s the same story for you. Also don't forget even the 'small' dreams count... 

 Let's commit to enjoying the process! 

“Realize that the path to your success will come from knowing how to deal with not knowing rather than based on what you know. Gain that humility. Enjoy the mistakes.”

Ray Dalio, CIO and Chairman at Bridgewater Associates

Now let me get back to my Dine and Dream Homework…..  

If you would like to buy tickets to the Dine and Dream 2017, click here.

 The Inspiring Quotes in this article were taken from here.