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June 2015

    Being First-Generation American

    Being Nigerian-American

    Me wearing my big gele ūüôā

    In honor of the closing of June and it being Immigrant Heritage Month, I wanted to share my thoughts on being first- generation American.

    Growing up, being a first-generation American was HARD. ¬†I had to learn how to be a cultural hybrid. ¬†To be both Nigerian and American at the same time was a lot of pressure for the younger me. I had to learn how to be Nigerian, which meant eating and cooking Nigerian food, deciphering the level of anger my parents were experiencing through their tonal Yoruba accent when they were disciplining me, respecting every single adult and learning when to call someone “aunty” or “uncle” even if they had no relations to me, and kneeling down to “big mommies” and “big daddies,” because they were older than my parents.

    I also had to learn how to be American, which meant burning a pot or two while perfecting my Hamburger Helper recipe, begging my parents to take me to get my learner’s permit ¬†at 15 1/2 yrs. old, so I could finally hang out with my friends without having to call my parents to pick me up, and obsessing over wearing the perfect prom dress and having a perfect prom night for memories to come.

    All of those moments, were easy to deal with, but accepting my identity got tricky. ¬†I honestly didn’t like the fact that I was Nigerian-American. I wanted to just be American. I used to be ashamed of my name. ¬†Why did I have so many names? People couldn’t pronounce it and I would always get ridicule from classmates (“Bisola…Coca-Cola…Ricola”). I didn’t like when my parents were spotted with African attire, with my mom’s big gele and all (“Why couldn’t she just wear a suit like the other moms?”). ¬†I didn’t like having to over study for everything (“Mom, it’s just multiple choice. The questions are not open-ended.”) and being called the teacher’s pet for getting a perfect score.

    However, my mom always reminded me that although I was born here, my heritage is from Nigeria. She would say that I needed to be careful not to adopt certain historical, societal and cultural mentalities that negatively conflicted with my heritage.

    That meant, appreciating my name, because it had great meaning. A name that prophesied over my life a rewarding destiny. It meant paying attention to how I presented myself to the world, no sloppy clothing, dressing well at all times, 14kt. gold sets and all, so that the world would know how I wanted to be treated, with dignity and class. It meant I was college-bound and shouldn’t take the easy road in school, because anything that I did then could effect my college admission options later.

    Sometimes, when I would feel burdened and confused about racial tensions I witnessed around me, on TV and in class, my mom would remind me of who I was and continue to be. That I am first and foremost a child of the Most High King, and in Him no one is made inferior. That I came from a good family of hard-working respectable people and that I came from a country that have powerful leaders who look just like me. That I shouldn’t succumb to societal norms, but continue to keep my head high and live like the jewel I was created to be.

    Yes, at times, being a cultural hybrid was a challenge. But with it came a rich cultural background, perspective and vision. Now, I would have it no other way.

     

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    Which Type 4 African Beauty Are You?

    Them: “I like your hair.” ¬†“How can I get my hair to look like that?”

    Me: “Like what?” “A twist-out?”

    Them: “Oh. Will a twist-out make my hair curl like that?”

    I don’t know how many times someone has asked me to recommend a product or style, that would allow their hair to mimic my natural hair texture. ¬†I usually tell them I’m rocking a twist-out, which is my go-to style, but it’s hard to explain that their twist-out will probably not look exactly like mine with mini coily spirals at the end of each twisted section, because my texture is mostly 4A and theirs is mostly 4C. Sometimes, I don’t feel comfortable trying to explain the difference, because I don’t want to appear offensive when I try to explain that my coily ends is due to heredity and humidity not to any style I’m trying to achieve. Their beautiful zig-zag pattern would find it hard to contort into a coil. ¬†I too envied other people’s texture when my hair didn’t cooperate.

    But, once I studied my hair texture and the specific products and styles that would compliment it, I began to have a better relationship with my hair and its individual personality. ¬†So what type of hair textures do most Africans have? Personally, I have a mixture of the 4s all over my head. I’m mostly 4A with 4 B/C textures around the edges of my head, but I certainly don’t have 3 A/B/C Fulani hair like some suggests. I explained more in my African Hair Typing post. Here is a rundown of the different Type 4 textures.

    TYPE 4A

    4A Hair 1

    Type 4A texture is characterized by tight mini spiral coils. ¬†It has an “S” shape and a defined curl pattern. What I’ve noticed is that when the coils are stretched in a style, it may still has a noticeable spiral at the ends.

    4A Hair 2

    Type 4 hair, in general, has low moisture retention, so it needs a lot of moisture. However, 4A hair tends to have more moisture than 4 B/C hair.

    Type 4A 3

    TYPE 4B

    4B Hair 1

    Type 4B texture is characterized by a “Z” pattern and it has less curl definition than Type 4A. ¬†When stretched, instead of a spiral pattern, it has an angled “Z” shape.

    Type 4B 2

    It feels like cotton to the touch and needs a lot of moisture. It can be referred to as kinky hair. This hair is very wiry and can be very fragile despite popular belief.

    Type 4B 3

    TYPE 4C

    TYPE 4C

    Type 4C texture is characterized by an undefined coil pattern.  It is very similar to 4B hair texture, but the pattern is more tightly packed together.

    TYPE 4C 2

    This hair texture needs a lot of moisture, but it can definitely hold a style.¬†I really admire Type 4 B/C beauties, because, even though their hair may not be as defined, I feel like it easier for them to maintain their growth. I love my coils, but I’m tired of cutting out fairy knots and tangles because it coils on itself, creating damage.

    Type 4c 3

    Every hair texture has its highs and lows. Once we learn about its individual personality and how to maintain it properly, we will be able to better embrace our hair for all its glory.

    Which Type 4 African beauty are you?

    Photos via: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

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    Inspired By: Feminine Watercolor Art

    Watercolor Art

    Generally, I love art. I love how the imagination of an artist comes alive on his/her chosen medium; be it canvas, paper, or objects. But in particular, watercolor art ignites a spark in me.  Watercolors have an airy, soft, elegant and feminine presence to me. Even though the paint strokes are loose and unstructured, the strokes still form together to a cohesive finish. When I need some visual inspiration, I like to scroll through my Artspiration board on Pinterest and admire the pretty watercolor artwork that I have pinned. It refreshes my creative palate every time.

    Images via (top left to right) : 1 //2//3//4

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    How to Plan an Amesome Theme Party

    Carnival Photos

    Planning a run-of-the-mill cheese and crackers party is one thing, but a tropical glam bridal shower or a Coney Island inspired backyard shindig is totally another thing.  I love theme parties, because I can push the envelope with even the smallest details.  For a tropical themed party, instead of placing floral arrangements in a typical glass vase for the guest tables, a vase made out of carved pineapples, is not only awesome, but it fits into a cohesive theme and it adds an element of texture.  For a vintage candy themed party, instead of just blowing up a picture of the celebrant and placing it on an easel, create DIY candy art made out of gumballs on a large foam board. You can then prop it on an easel and let that be your showpiece to welcome guest.  See? Having a theme allows you to get really creative and push the envelope. Here are some tips to help you get started.

    1. Figure Out the Logistics

    Determine the date, time and location of your event. ¬†The season of the year, location of the event, and time can all influence what type of theme you should have. If you’re using an ultra-modern space with a minimalist vibe, it may be a bit more challenging to pull off a Marie Antoinette themed bridal shower for your best friend. ¬†You would have to add more elements to make the space feel like another era. On the other hand, if you are thinking about planning a garden tea party in the middle of April, it may not be the best time because the weather is unpredictable and rain may disrupt your pinkies-up Earl Grey tea session. So, the logistics is very important.

    2.  Set a Budget

    Now that you have handled logistics, it’s time to set a budget. Your budget is one of the most important factors for planning. It sets the perimeters for what you can and can not spend. Do you have enough money for the soda making machine for your signature drinks or do you need to take a trip to Costco? Do you have enough money for letterpress invitations or are you going to be a Canon printer master? Your budget sets the vision for your party. Without vision your party perishes.

    3. Choose a Theme

    Stalk Pinterest for a couple of hours to get inspiration (a regular occurrence for me so don’t feel ashamed to search every moment you get) and look up Youtube videos on how to DIY decor that relates to your theme. Consider design elements like shapes, concepts, moods, animals, sports, your favorite saying, anything can become inspiration for a theme. Don’t forget to choose a color palette, as well. You should have about three or four colors that you can¬†use throughout the party, that would create a strong palette. ¬†For inspiration, search sites like Design Seeds.¬†Along with your different textures (sequin, lace, burlap, gingham, etc. ) and other defining elements, the party will begin to create a cohesive theme.

    4. Get Crazy with the Details

    This is your time to shiiinnneee! Break out the glue gun and spray paint, it’s time to flex your creative muscles. Now that you have a sense of the theme and vision, it’s time to implement it by choosing linens that coordinate with the color palette, centerpieces that flow with your theme,¬†decor that is unique to the space and vibe you want to establish, and so forth. ¬†Be creative and look for DIY inspiration at the thrift store, flea markets, etc. if you can’t afford to spend money on purchasing an element out right. ¬†The key is to be consistent with the design, color palettes, food selections, and any elements that will make your party…AWESOME!

    What type of parties are you planning this Summer?

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    How Crying During America’s Got Talent Creates Heart Confetti

    This is a little embarrassing, but when I watch America’s Got Talent, Nigeria’s Got Talent, American Idol, Nigerian Idol, Shark Tank, [Insert “I need to win or I go back to my local grocery store as a cashier” type of TV competition here], I get teary eyes almost all the time. ¬†Sometimes, I find myself glued to my laptop watching a marathon of audition videos on Youtube. There is something about inspiring creatives with a past that put their all on the stage for others to judge that really pulls at my heart strings. It’s risky, it’s vulnerable, it’s inspiring.

    It’s inspiring to see people who were told they couldn’t do it, they’re not good enough, or the idea is not genius enough, to sum up enough courage to express their talent or idea in front of already successful and intimidating judges that have the authority to decide whether they continue the competition or go home back to their cashier jobs, back to a perceived level of obscurity.

    Recently, while browsing Facebook, I came upon this video of Drew Lynch, a contestant on America’s Got Talent. His story was touching. How he used a painful life altering experience and changed it into a positive motivating force in his life was inspiring. And of course, the waterworks started, but ended with a smile. The nervousness that he felt was difficult to watch, but when the judges gave a standing ovation and the gold confetti dropped….I felt “confetti in my heart.”

    Which shows do you like to watch?

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