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March 2015

    Eating Oxtail at Work

    The other day, I was catching up on Fresh Off the Boat episodes that I missed. I can relate to the show, being a first generation American growing up with Nigerian parents in DC. One episode in particular was all too real for me, the white people food episode. Food is so important in many cultures, especially Nigerian culture. It’s a part of my identity, but I didn’t always see it that way.

    My mom once told me that when I was a kid, in pre-school I believe, she used to worry about my eating habits.  I refused to eat. She was so worried that she took me to see a pediatrician to discuss why I wasn’t eating. He asked my mom what she was feeding me and she proudly told him she was feeding me well. Fufu, okra soup, rice and stew with oxtail and goat meat, etc….you know, the usual. He laughed and told my mom to start buying me McDonald’s. She did and I started eating.

    Growing up, I craved Hamburger Helper over Jollof rice. My friends were eating it and it taste good in my eyes, so that’s what I wanted to eat too.  In school, my taste buds were indoctrinated to believe that chicken nuggets and fish sticks were the best. No matter how many times it was thawed and microwaved. I wasn’t trying to make a statement, like Eddie in Fresh Off the Boat. I just really liked Hamburger Helper.

    Fast forward to now, I loovvveeee Nigerian food.  The spices, the flavor, the smell I can’t get enough of it. Before, I used to only eat it at home or Nigerian functions, but now, I bring it to work with me almost everyday. Sometimes, I prefer a home-cooked meal over Five Guys, Potbelly’s, …you name it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still careful about some food choices I bring to work, like my favorite, fish. But some foods like stock fish, even I can’t stomach the smell, at times. Sometimes, I’m a little hesitant about eating at work, I try to find places to eat, because Nigerian food can’t always be eaten in the prettiest way. Sometimes, I want to suck the stew off the bone, like I do at home. LOL…don’t judge. But who wants to be caught doing that at work? For the sake of compromising, I restrict the foods that I do take to spare my co-workers of that sight. But, all in all, I’ve learned to love to eat Nigerian food over what Eddie calls white people’s food in any setting.  Being completely comfortable with who you are is a process.  But I will get there, even if it takes one meal at a time.

    What do you eat at work?

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    So You Want To Go Natural, Huh?

    So You Want To Go Natural Quiz

    I’ve been natural, meaning without a relaxer, for four years now and it has been a journey.  From transitioning for 7 months, to big chopping (unintentionally…the hairstylist was suppose to just cut where my two textures met, but she insisted on styling it and gave me a slight mohawk…my 7 months of transitioning landed on the floor) to TWAs to shoulder length to split ends to bad trims. Yeah, it’s been a journey. But all in all, I can’t see myself ever getting a relaxer again.  I love my coils! I love running my fingers along the spirals and watching it grow full and thick. I also love the compliments that I get on my 2nd day twist-out or my fancy updos or my I-need-to-wash-my-hair pin and tucks.

    Sometimes, people ask me how did I go natural, what products do I use, and how can they get their hair like mine.  I try to guide them to all the resources that I used while I was transitioning and learning. I also try to show them some techniques.  But honestly, being a successful natural really starts from your mindset, like every other accomplishment.  My hair can be high maintenance sometimes, and it reacts badly when I’m not giving it the TLC that it needs. But I’ve learned to give it the attention that it needs to get the results that I want.  Some people aren’t ready for that and that’s fine.  Not everyone’s beauty brand is their hair (more on that concept later).

    So, for those of you who are still interested in going natural, I created this infographic mini quiz to get you thinking about natural hair practices and whether it’s the right choice for you. Below I linked the bloggers & vloggers I used as resources for my natural hair journey.

    Read More. Learn More. Grow More :

    1. Curly Nikki

    2. KisforKinky

    3. Moptop Maven   (Even though the site is no longer active it still has great information on it)

    4. NaturallyCurly

    5. Naptural85

    6. FusionofCultures

    7. Nikkimae2003

    8. MeechyMonroe & MsVaughnTV    (Sisters)

    What are your favorite natural hair bloggers or vloggers?

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    Inspired By: Spring

    Spring Is Here Board

    Spring is here! I’ve been waiting for longer days and warmer nights. Even though the weather hasn’t crossed over entirely, I’m still looking forward to the smell of blooming flowers, the feel of airy fabrics and the sight of lighter and brighter shades. I’m looking forward to the sun peeking through my shades in the morning, to having lemonade on the rocks and to dining al fresco style. Hello gorgeous…spring is here.

    Photos via (left to right): 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

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    Peacock Chairs

    For the longest time, I wanted to get a Peacock chair for my apartment.  Initially, I didn’t even know it was called a Peacock chair. I grew up seeing those chairs at Nigerian social gatherings…bridal showers, baby showers, etc.  They became the quintessential celebrants chair until I started seeing them pop up as decor in design magazines. In my mind, Peacock chairs were only functional for parties, but transitioning them into home decor was downright genius.  Especially, since I tend to lean towards a 70’s sensibility, at times.  Flare jeans, jumpsuits and textured fros are just my thing.

    So adding a boho-worldly item to my furniture selection was necessary. I searched Craigslists, local thrift stores, and home decor shops, to find one, but they were either too expensive or too far for me to justify driving many miles away for a listing.  Until, one day, on my birthday to be exact, I was driving down the road about 15 minutes away from my place when I saw a community yard sale commencing.  I decided to just browse for a few minutes, because I was on my way to visit my cousin, when I saw a Peacock chair in plain view. I beelined straight to the chair and asked the seller how much she wanted for it. When she said $2, I asked her to repeat it. What! $2! I scrapped up all the coins in my car (I didn’t have cash on me), paid and walked away with the beauty.  What a birthday gift. Thanks God! Now that it sits in my living room, I want another to keep my current one company. Maybe I will gather a collection for various rooms.

    Here’s a few I found to inspire your own collection.

    Peacock Chair

    Peacock Chair

    Peacock Chair

    Peacock Chair

    Peacock Chair

    Peacock Chair

    Photos via: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

    What do you think about Peacock chairs as home decor?

     

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    Found in Translation: Las Gidi

    LasGidi

    When I was brainstorming the name for my blog, I wanted a name that both represented my cultural identity and feminine aesthetic. Initially, I wrote down every adjective I could think of that I felt represented me and my style, but the concepts didn’t give me that “yes, that’s it!” feeling.  I was getting frustrated. because all the ideas I came up with didn’t click for me.  But when I prayed, I felt more about peace with not having an answer right away. After some days, the name Gidi & Pearls came to me.  Yes, that’s it!

    “Gidi” stems from “Las Gidi,” the nickname of Lagos, a progressive city in Nigeria with a lot of young professionals accomplishing and reaching their goals. “Gidi” was also a play on the word “giddy,” my state when I’m excited and playful about something, which relates to my femininity. The word “Pearls” represents my feminine and classic tendencies. And that’s how Gidi & Pearls was born.

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    10 Tips on Finding an Apartment

    Apartment photog

    Last year, I moved out my parents house to my first apartment on my own.  When I was in law school, I lived with a roommate, but that was nothing compared to having a place to myself. I was now leasing square footage of freedom and responsibility.  At first, everything was great until I noticed things about my place that was not obvious when I did a walk-through (i.e. faulty mailbox…I didn’t get my mail for about 3 weeks, because my key couldn’t open the box and maintenance didn’t see it as a priority). So, here’s some tips on how to find the apartment of your dreams or move into a better one.

    1.  Make a list of your needs & wants.

    In order to do something successfully, you have to have a vision for it first.  Before you start searching for apartments, make a list of the amenities (i.e. washer & dryer) you know you absolutely need to be comfortable in your new space and the amenities you would like to have (i.e. pool), but can live without if the apartment complex doesn’t have it. This list will help you sort out the potentials from the absolute no-nos quickly, which is necessary, because the best apartments are usually the first ones to get rented.  As soon as, you figure out your priorities the better your search experience.

    2. Research the location.

    It is soooo important to research the location you want to move to. Don’t just search Google Maps to see how it looks on a great day. Drive by the area after work when most people are coming home and at night to see whether it looks safe and how quiet or busy it is.  Are your neighbors walking their dogs? Are the street lights working? How many cars are passing by that area?  Ask yourself important safety questions. One mistake I made was not researching the area well enough to discern the type of people living around me.  I quickly found out soon enough, when I had an issue with my neighbor smoking weed in his apartment, which led to the smoke coming through my vents. Ummm, yeah. Needless to say, after complaining to management and not getting any feedback, I moved out, as soon as, my lease was up.

    Also, check the proximity of the location compare to the places you usually travel to. How close is it to work? church? school? hangout spots? the nearest train station?There was one apartment that I moved into that I loved! It was a three floor brownstone walk-up with character… hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, bay windows, but also 9 blocks away from the nearest train station.  I loved my apartment, but I never really wanted to leave, because it took an Israelite journey to get to places.

    3. Look up reviews.

    Look up reviews online, to see what comments tenants have of the place you are interested in.  Rodents don’t tend to come out during the day, which is the time most walk-throughs are conducted.  However, an angry tenant could write a review on how she hears rodents in the walls while trying to sleep at night. Or that guest parking is usually a hassle, and people’s cars tend to get towed often. Reviews give you insight and perspective of a place you otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

    4. Research the management company.

    I soooo wish that I had received this advice before I moved into my last apartment.  Right before I moved-in, the management company transitioned into another.  Right before I moved-out it transitioned again into another.  The management company changed twice within a year. It certainly affected my experience, because the available amenities offered went downhill while there was an increase in fees. Fees that I didn’t bargain for when I initially signed my lease.  If there is a high turnover rate at the leasing office, and the person you usually gave your rent check to and built a relationship with has been replaced, that’s not a good sign.  Sometimes, there isn’t an incentive for management to take the tenants concerns seriously if a relationship hasn’t been built.

    5. Find out the move-in fees.

    First month’s rent isn’t the only fee you have to pay up-front.  Most apartment buildings require an application fee, security deposit, amenities fees, move-in day fee (to pad the elevators for furniture), etc. It’s important to get an understanding of how much everything will cost up-front, so you know how much money you need to bring with you to sign the lease.  Sometimes, moving during certain months that have low turnover rates, like winter (who wants to be lugging furniture in the snow?), can reduce your fees via specials, because the applicant pool is low. Check to see whether any specials can be applied to your monthly rent.  Also, find out how your rent should be paid. Most buildings don’t take cash and some charge an extra fee for using credit cards.  Check if utilities are included or separate, the extra $150 a month for utilities could make a different in your budget.  Lastly, a bonus to the fee game are referrals.  Some buildings will pay their tenants for referring an applicant.  If your friend lives in the building already, you guys can split the bonus. It’s a win/win situation for both.

    6.  Both roommates (or more) are responsible for the entire rent payment. 

    It seems logical that if two or more people are on the lease than each roommate is only responsible for their share of the rent. However, most landlords do not think that way.  Multiple people on the lease means multiple people are responsible for the entire rent amount.  So, if your overspending friend wants to get an apartment together, think three times about it.  You don’t want to be financially responsible for a person who is financially irresponsible.

    7.  Read the lease.

    I know, it seems obvious, but most people are so excited that they breeze through the lease without noticing hidden clauses.  It almost happened to me.  I was ready to sign my lease, because I had been eyeing this place for a long time, but a thorough reading uncovered amenity fees that were never brought up before. Graciously, I was able to negotiate my way out of paying, because I wasn’t informed and I wasn’t prepared to pay.

    8.  Start buying necessities before you move.

    This was one of my biggest mistakes.  I paid more attention to buying different candles and decorative items than the necessities like a can opener (you will be surprised how much you need this in the beginning), trash bags, shower curtains, etc.  A trip Target can fix this, but spending time in a long line on a Saturday may not be the best use of your time when you are trying to get into your groove and unpack. Especially, for a person who despises dislikes packing and unpacking. Once I’m in the mood, I like to do, as much as, I can before the unpacking inspiration leaves me.

    9.  Ask if there is a pet fee.

    If you have pets, you may have to pay for them to live with you. Some buildings don’t like pets at all. More so dogs and cats than goldfishes. So, if you do find one that allows you to keep your pet, understand how much that will cost you, if at all.

    10. Ask whether you can paint.

    Everyone may not be the next Nate Berkus, but having an apartment gives you the chance to express yourself and personality in a space that’s all yours.  One of the easiest ways to do that is by changing the wall color. Believe me, it can make a sterile looking dorm like-apartment look like an inviting chateau.  Ask if you can have the privileges to paint an accent wall or two. Most apartments will allow you to and would even paint it for you for a fee.  Just make sure you are aware that you might have to paint it back to the original color or it will be taken out of your security deposit.

    What other tips do you have?

     

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