Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Following on from my previous post, I wanted to continue this 'Back to School' Series by discussing the much shrugged issue of finances. This isn't much of a worry for the teens - but I don't think I have many readers in that demographic - so into the coin pit I delve.
Blazer : H&M | Dashiki : Lagos, Nigeria (seen here)
A friend too many confided in me about their dire financial state recently, and it's genuinely puzzled me. This was even more so in University, where young adults were entrusted with large chunks of money in the form of grants, loans and Bank of Parent hand-outs for the first time. I love the finer luxuries in life, but I'm smart enough now to cut my coat according to my size & live within my means. That's not to say I have never been strapped for cash, but my ignorance was my saviour as having never signed up for a student account, I never relied on the safety net of an overdraft. That meant whenever my balance was tipping towards the 0, I bactracked my plans and sat my butt at home.
Plate hanging on adjacent side of Bank of England Museum entrance

Hustle & bustle of the City (Bank Station)
University is a big melting pot of individuals from all walks of life; truly a priceless experience. Some have been taught the value of money, and others haven't. In order to have a great time, it's better to be in the former category but you must learn that it isn't all dependent on you but also your social circle. The same is evident in the real world. The gold-diggers, leeches and a thirsty broads aren't sectioned to just young adulthood. Thus, it is incumbent on you to surround yourself with like-minded folk or smarter ones even, so as to properly economise and maximise your coin's capacity.
Watch : Guess | Bag : ZARA
In light of that, here are a few folk I advise you to steer clear from in University (and life):
1) Blow-Money-Fasters: These are the folks you see making champagne rain in the clubs on the weekend, yet soak nothing but garri through the week (no shade). Be careful of these people 'cos they are frivolous and fickle, and their value system is based on aesthetics and materialism.
2) Never-Ever-Reimbursers: You know them by their wandering eyes and dodgy behaviour when it comes to cab-money-collection, pizza-payments or payback-card-qualms. Beware of these folk because they are just as shady with their trust, as they are tight with their purse.
3) Treat-Tramps: These rats lurch in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to throw you in the frontline to pay on their behalf. Your purse is already open so it makes perfect sense...or so they say. Be wary of tramps that base your friendship on your ability to treat them. I call them sappers, cos they will sap your coin, confidence and connections. Don't say I didn't warn you!
One's coin capacity is dependent on the ability to limit the need to lavish it on luxuries. BLEURGH

Cash au Coin

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A few weeks ago, I turned up (banner et al) at Hyde Park to support my sister, who ran 5k  Race for Life to fundraise for breast cancer research. It was on the sidelines of this race that I drew the analogy that marathons like that, are akin to life, and here's why. 
Top : M&S | Joni Jeans : Topshop
I lived a lot of my earlier life comparing the speed at which I ran my race, with peers and friends alike. However, watching runners pace through pain, cramps and heat inspired me to look at life from a different perspective. There were women of all shapes and sizes sprinting, jogging and walking to the finish line. What was most interesting was not being able to tally the size or look of a woman with her record time once she crossed the finish line. Peering at someone else’s journey will do nothing but distract yours. So pining after someone else’s fruits will gain you nothing but a jealous spirit, cause you anguish over the lack in your life, and push you to act uncharacteristically in order to fit their mould. Remember "direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast". So harken to the words of satnavs at speed camera sightings and "WATCH YOUR SPEED"...and yours alone.
A very profound friend of mine spewed this nugget of wisdom: "some are meant to have more interesting starts than others, but it serves 2 purposes; to make you strong/resilient & encourage others with your story". I have shared snippets of my faults, failures and fall-backs, as testimony to you all that you don't have to be a stellar student or candidate to reach the point on the pyramid you aspire to climb. Please believe that with hardwork, perseverance and faith, you can conquer all. I am writing this for all those anxiously biting nails as they overthink their lifeplans, exam results and job application forms. Know that it may not pan out as you wished it, but the end result will be far better than your wildest dreams.
Many started in groups but few dropped off due to lack of training or sped up as a result of a fitter physique. A story my sister shared struck me; 2 girls decided to sprint earlier on in the race, leaving behind their fellow team mates but soon one girl's sluggish body slowed down her partner and the other team mates soon caught up and over took them. This is no fable. In life, it is important not to be siamesed to others as our lanes are designated to us at birth and it is our purpose to fulfil our races at our best speed, and not another's. Stay in your lane because trying to run in another's will only serve to amputate you.
Run your race at your pace because your only competition is yourself. BLEURGH

Race of Life

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

NOTICE: I thought long and hard about this, but have decided to shut down my YOUTUBE Channel. I found lots of Youtubers had heeded to my wise words of creating engaging content that met the needs of their audience, far beyond the fickle realm of fashion & beauty. Thus, I saw no real need to endeavour to penetrate the already saturated market of online gurus. I hope you will respect my decision and see that the purpose is fulfilled by others. I will continue to voice my concerns & share my views on the Blogger platform & thank you all for your continued support. Also, please let me know your thoughts on the new layout & design of BLEURGH! 
Top : BANK | Shorts : Primark
Back to the regularly scheduled program: You may all be aware that I struggled with toxic friends and trust in the past. Well, this prompted a friendship detox, and I have no regrets. Having received another wedding invitation from a good friend, it prompted me to think about who I'd invite to mine in the future, now that I've whittled down my circle to the bare minimum. My mother always advised growing up that "one should be able to count their good friends on one hand", and past my rebellious teens, I have now seen the light in my twenties.  However, that's no shade on the reality that a bigger social circle is being compromised by trust, which isn't a bad thing, but not necessarily the best in light of future social events.
The term 'frenemy' was birthed in the early noughties, when popular culture was still obsessed with the IT Girls' social circles a la Paris Hilton and Alexa Chung. The dictionary definition states that frenemies are people "with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry". This week saw the dramatic exit of a frenemy in my life. We had ended things on bad terms nearly a year ago, yet her presence was still evident on my social media accounts (i.e. Facebook) and there were still awkard tip-toe-tactics being adopted during social gatherings to ensure our paths never crossed. That's a lot of effort to make on another's behalf, and quite frankly, she was right for cutting the umbilical cord of anguish that was our friendship (no shade).
I found the whole scenario quite intriguing; why had I chosen to leave her in my life in light of all the warning signs? What benefit did a ghost of a friend serve in a social circle? Do all friends have to be good friends, or is it still healthy to have friends with benefits? Well, it prompted me to draft (fans of How I Met Your Mother will be familiar with this) a pros & cons list:
  1. Subject to constant negativity - serves no purpose other than to deplete one's esteems, confidence and dreams. 
  2. Shifted blame culture - improperly place fault, thus creating a culture where you constantly question yourself, values and foundation. Remember, if you "stand for nothing, [you] fall for everything"
  3. Lose Yourself - unsure of who to turn to and thus, you develop trust issues
Headband : Debenhams | Necklace : NEXT (Thrifted) | Bag : Longchamp
  1. Creates awareness - churn their negativity to positivity and cultivate it into means of self-development
  2. Inspiration for aspiration - sometimes God places people in our lives that are blessed with our prayer requests. It is not to deter us from our dreams but to motivate us to aspire to greater heights and observe where they have failed, in order to better steer our lives to the path of success
  3. Develops B*tch Bank - Ricocheting shade and reads is no small feet. Thus, frenemies encourage you to develop your vocabulary and witty diction, and better manage your anger. 
Christian Nestell Bovee - "False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade."


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I was outraged when I read about Jada, a 16-year-old girl from Houston, Texas who blew up on social media overnight after pictures of her - drunk, unconscious, and splayed out on the floor - went viral. As the story goes, she attended a house party with friends, but unbeknownst to her, sipped from a spiked drink from the her teenage male host. Her appearance on the meme was not her doing, as she was stripped naked and allegedly raped assaulted. Other teens began mimicking her pose under the hashtag #jadapose, followed by vulgar captions such as 'hit that'.
Blazer : H&M | Ankara Bustier : Tailor-Made (Enugu) | Skirt : ZARA
Can you imagine waking up and seeing your face being mocked as an anonymous caricature on social media? People have dehumanised you in order to displace responsibility and erase any guilt loaded on their conscience when made aware of the gravity of their conduct. I have seen this happen to acquaintances; older and younger women, and I have seen first hand, the effects it has on their confidence. These memes might be comical to the naked eye, but the people behind them are scarred for life. We are, in essence, engaging in the berating of a young girl, with no care as to who she is or her wellbeing.
Speaking to an assembly of secondary school girls in Kuje, Nigeria
Grounds of the Secondary School in Kuje, Nigeria
As a mentor, I was faced with much the same dilemma, when a mentee stated she wouldn't attend school for the final week as a result of bullying, I had to tread the fine line between feeding her inspirational quotes or scolding her to see the realities of life like her mother probably would. I chose neither, instead adopting my usual skill to serve reality as I've learned to see it, while also urging her to live the sort of life that'll allow her the opportunity to view it for herself but from a far more victorious seat that I was unfortunate to be ushered to in my teens. Working with young girls, almost the same age as Jada, I saw how impressionable they were and how the words and actions of others moulded them into the women they would become. More so now, than ever before, it is important to consciously aid the healthy development of young girls to enlighten them as to what is morally acceptable and unacceptable.
Watch : Michael Kors | Peeptoe Heels : Dorothy Perkins
Jada? She's one of the young girl, who I'm sure, have the support of good parents and mentors because not only has she churned a positive from a negative, but she has created awareness among the millenials of rape culture and gender bias. As an expression of solidarity, people have been posting pictures on social media of a raised fist or holding signs with a new hashtag; #IAmJada. Empowering captions demanding a change in rape culture and social education ensue. This shows, yet again, that the power of social media cannot be streamlined to negate social values alone, but can be adopted to strengthen moral etiquette and charges Millenials to take ownership of their content and post things to empower and not tear down their readership.
It's time we stood together to educate the young as to the value of the female body. It is no body is entitled to it, but the owner alone, and rape / sexual assault cannot be taken lightly. BLEURGH


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I was in a 'this time last year' mood over the weekend, as it marked the anniversary of my sister's wedding. As happy a day as it was, it also fell around the time my whole world came crashing down. You will all be aware that i took time-off the e-world to focus on the real world, and one too many bloggers will be familiar with this. Why? Well, is that ever really relevant? What's important is the underlying message I hope to share with you, rather than indulge you in the details of the emotional, mental, spiritual and/or physical turmoil I endured spring/summer 2013.
Croptop : ZARA (DIY) | Trousers : Pat Shub (Thrifted) | Heels : Littlewoods
This time last year I was unfit, all round (post coming up soon), and it forced me to lean wholly on my spiritual foundation in order to rebuild myself into the woman I am today. That was no walk in the park, but it allowed me to rule out negating factors that were impeding my development, and pick up core values that I stand firm on 'til today.
Turban : Afro-Carribean Hair Store
Necklace + Bracelet : Abuja Arts & Crafts Market | Belt : Primark

As a Christian, I live everyday with the motive to embody the fruits of the spirit in my conduct and speech. However, the journey to inner peace or the formidable plight to faithfulness is so littered with obstacles that it benefits me to break it down into tangible chunks in order to fully understand how exactly I can overcome life's woes & foes. Thus, it struck me one day, while flicking through my instagram feed; 7 Cardinal Rules for life. I overcame my obstacles and faced my fears in order to triumph over defeat, but thats only one hurdle; it is inevitable that more will come (and have thus far, since).
So I drafted a list of my life lessons that I learned from the past year and have held me in good stead through trials and tribulations. That's not to say these same 7 are universally applicable, but they transcend most of the qualms I have and will face. Feel free to let me know some of the lessons you have learned in the comments below, but in the meantime, I thought to share:
  1. Make peace with your past
  2. Be a critic to your criticism
  3. Importance of time & patience
  4. Disappointment builds character
  5. The world is your oyster
  6. Don't compare yourself to others
  7. Let Go & Let God
Inhale, exhale, smile. Life isn't fair so it's better to stand firm on concrete values in order to beat it by a mile. BLEURGH!! 

7 Cardinal Rules of Life

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