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November 2015

    3 Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

    If you’re like me, you might feel like Thanksgiving kinda snuck up on you, because you’ve been so busy. Don’t fret. If you want to have an elegant tablescape to complement your turkey while making your guests swoon, get inspired by these three ideas.

    Thanksgiving Feathers

    Image Via: Popsugar

    Feather Decor

    For a quick and easy tablescape, pick up some feathers from your local craft store and arrange them in pretty vases for a simple elegant look.

    Gold Leaf Decor

    Don’t let all that pretty foliage in your backyard go to waste. Grab some metallic spray paint of your choice and spray paint the leaves to make pretty place cards for your guests.

    Thanksgiving Pumpkins

    Image Via: Tone on Tone

    White Pumpkin Decor

    Buy either fresh pumpkins from your local grocery store or fake pumpkins from the craft store. Spray paint them beige or ivory to complement the warm tones of Fall.  Add votive candles and florals…voila. You have a quick and easy elegant tablescape.

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    Coping With Grief

    Coping With Grief

    Lately, there has been so much grieving going on.  A few weeks ago, an attorney jumped off a building not to far from my office, during morning rush hour. Last week, the haunting footage of the Paris attacks surfaced populating global news feeds. This week, Boko Haram bombed two cities in Nigeria leaving behind devastation and an air of fear. There is grieving everywhere. Everywhere.

    Grief is hard. It’s really hard. No matter how much we try, there is no escaping it. Everyone will come to a point of grief in their life. Grieving over a parent, a sibling, a child, a friend, an ex, a pet, a job, loss of opportunity, loss of time, loss of dreams and so on.  Whatever the cause, grief will come.

    I experienced my own grief when my youngest brother died at thirteen. I can remember the very day I received the news. I was in high school and it was two days before Spring Break.  I was looking forward to getting a week off from school and visiting my brother who had been sick for a while in the hospital. As soon as, I stepped off the school bus, I saw cars. There were so many cars parked at my house. So many cars. I vividly remember seeing the cars. At that moment, I knew something was wrong. I barely turned my key in the lock, when the door opened. It was my pastor’s wife, I think. Those details are a bit muddy, but I remember it wasn’t my mom. When I walked into the living room she was sitting on the couch sobbing. She didn’t look up. Then, my dad started crying. An image I saw for the first time. My brother followed and I remained stunned. I immediately knew. My youngest brother had past away.

    Since then I’ve grappled with coping with his loss. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. It never is really. But what helped me cope is my faith.  That day I was surrounded by a huge family whose main commonality was our faith in Christ. For my biological family, we couldn’t help each other, because we couldn’t help ourselves. However, my church family kicked into gear and took shifts in comforting, praying, cooking, planning the funeral, driving and whatever needed to be done to get my family functioning through the grief.

    It was a hard process, very hard…but the one thing I tried to focus on was my faith in believing that God, “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Has it always been easy to believe? Absolutely, not. There were days I would be completely fine and than burst into tears, because I remembered his smile. Some days I would ask, “Why do good people die so young?” I really don’t know the answer. But over ten years later, I can attest that God has healed my broken heart and bound up my wounds. Is there a scar? Yes, of course there is. The wound however is gone. Sincerely, my scar is there to remind me of how God has helped me overcome. It also reminds me that when the wounds come, He will continue to be there to heal them. That’s His promise to us. If it’s one thing I know, God does not renege on His promises (Isaiah 55:11). He remains faithful, even when we are faithless, because He can’t deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). So when life happens and you find yourself grieving, because it will come, remember that He can heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds. You may not always understand His process, but He still heals. He did it for me.

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    How Nigerian Style is Winning Over Vogue Magazine

    Oluchi Vogue

    Image via: BFA

    Recently, my friend alerted me to an article on Vogue.com titled, “Nigeria vs. New York: Supermodel Oluchi Weighs In on the Latest Global Style Debate.” I smiled because a few days ago, I was reading an article about Parisian vs. American style and I was thinking,” What about the Nigerian style?” The debate has always been Parisian vs. American, but I love that the global style debate is seriously incorporating Nigeria. It also doesn’t hurt that Vogue is endorsing the long overdue debate.

    The article features an interview with Oluchi, the host of Africa’s Next Top Model and a former Victoria Secret model. She talks about how her Nigerian culture influenced her style while living in the States and vice versa. American culture also helped to influence her relax sophisticated style. Essentially, both cultures played a role in her signature style. This article is a good read, because like me, I’m sure others can relate to being influenced by both. Just the other day, I wore an A-line ankara skirt with an H&M blouse to work. My skirt became a conversation piece and an educating moment. Mixing my styles has definitely made my wardrobe and the conversations around it more interesting. Check out the article here.

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    Gidi Girlboss: Feyi of Project Beautify You, Inc.

    Feyisayo Odukoya

    Feyi, Founder & Executive Director of Project Beautify You, Inc.

    After many years of feeling stagnant in my legal career, I was desperate for a change.  I wasn’t satisfied and realized I spent more time reading design and lifestyle blogs than writing briefs. Eventually, I started working for a boutique event services and design firm where I was able to explore my interests in writing and design. However, I learned that my journey isn’t unique. There are many Nigerian-American millennials who feel stuck in a career that isn’t satisfying. Especially, if their career was influenced by parents who were more concerned about status than fulfillment. However, I believe that everyone has a purpose and that purpose should be actualized.  So, I wanted to start an interview series on Nigerian-American female entrepreneurs. I find it inspiring to learn about other entrepreneurs’ journey to reaching their potential. It’s not easy to realize you may be heading in the wrong direction, stop, evaluate, and turn around towards the right path. That’s why when others step out on faith to achieve their passions, I’m all in.

    Feyi Odukoya is the Founder and Executive Director of Project Beautify You, Inc., a non-profit organization that focuses on highlighting the inner beauty of young women in the community. After being inspired by an eight-year-old who was battling self-esteem issues, she quit her career as an accountant and dedicated her time to building PBY, Inc. The mission of PBY, Inc. is to “create a generation of female leaders by helping [young women] develop a healthy sense of self-worth, confidence and purpose.” Noted for her achievements, Feyi became a Proctor & Gamble My Black is Beautiful National Ambassador and has been featured in O Magazine, Essence and Black Enterprise.

    G&P: How did you come up with the concept for your non-profit?

    PBY: Well, I’ve always had a desire to help people see themselves in a better light, but I never envisioned myself doing it in this type of way. When I was a sophomore in college, I had this “Aha! moment” or rather the Spirit telling me I was going to mentor girls. From there it became a burning desire to teach girls how to love themselves. Within that same week a business plan competition came about on campus, and I decided to enter. I used that opportunity to really map out my name, mission, vision, target market, etc. which all came to mind in less than 10 mins. I ended up placing first place in the competition and the rest led me to where I am now.

    Project Beautify You

    G&P: Wow! Once you received your purpose and direction you didn’t skip a beat on implementing it. Would you advise other female entrepreneurs to do the same once they get clarity on their direction?

    PBY: Yea! I think the most important part is the clarity aspect. Once you‘re clear on what you‘ve been called to do there’s no excuse to not do it. So, yea, I think women should definitely have faith in the journey they are about to embark once they are clear about their assignment.

    G&P:  Describe Project Beautify You, Inc. in three words.

    PBY: Sisterhood. Transformational. Loving.

    Project Beautify You

    G&P: What has been the greatest reward of starting your own non-profit?

    PBY: Honestly, to see girls in the program make statements like “this program really taught me that I’m worth more than I put out” or “this program is amazing, I can see it going far.” Also, the comments of the parents and their appreciation for taking their daughter under [our] wing. It’s so awesome to really have an impact on someone’s life for the good and to have other people see a vision I barely saw years ago.

    G&P: What has been the greatest challenge of starting your own non-profit?

    PBY: Yes, so many challenges! I think one of the greatest things have been the funding aspect, learning how to run a company from ground up and getting into schools. With non-profits you always have to be able to sell why your program is a need amongst several other similar organizations and that’s something I’m learning right now.

    G&P: I know. Entrepreneurs are the best learners! When you go through a challenge, what do you do to keep pressing forward?

    PBY: PRAY! LOL, no but seriously I really trust God a lot. I always remind God this vision isn’t something I came up with on my own and remind Him of His word that He has plans for us and plans to give us hope and a future, as well as, several other scriptures. In doing that, while I’m reminding Him that he can’t/won’t leave me hanging I’m reminding myself that He created me for this.

    But yes! Entrepreneurs are the best learners! We have to learn everything. LOL.

    G&P: Relying on God is definitely key. That’s why it’s so important to have clarity about one’s purpose first, before starting the journey. Because it is not for the faint of hearts.

    What is your morning routine like?

    PBY: For my morning routine, I usually start my day with prayer, and afterwards go through my to do list that I created the night before to figure out what I’ll tackle first for the day.

    Feyi Odukoya

    G&P: What business icon would you like to shadow for a day?

    PBY: Good question! I would probably want to shadow the Executive Director of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani. I really admire the growth her organization has had since it’s launch and the amount of backing she has for her program. I’d love to see how she runs the program behind the scenes.

    G&P: What have you learned in the past 24 hrs.?

    PBY: I would say not being afraid to expand your territory in areas you didn’t plan for. My team is currently planning for our events for next year and a few of the meetings I’ve attended have made me realize the importance of keeping an open mind.

    G&P: What is your cultural background?

    PBY: I am Nigerian-American. Born and raised in Maryland, but my parents are from Nigeria.

    G&P: Do you think your culture affects your business decisions?

    PBY: Nope. I think if anything it’s the opposite. LOL. I believe I’m in a more nontraditional field for a Nigerian person.

    G&P: Interesting perspective. I didn’t think of it that way. But it’s a positive thing, because everyone isn’t called to be a nurse, doctor, engineer or lawyer. Which is what I found out the hard way. LOL. That’s why having interviews with budding Nigerian-American entrepreneurs like yourself is important, so young women can feel confident walking in their nontraditional or unconventional purpose.

    PBY: LOL. I wholeheartedly agree. My background is in Accounting, so I think I fit the mold beforehand, now not so much. LOL.

    G&P: How has your cultural background influenced the person you are today?

    PBY: The older I get the more I realize how much the Nigerian culture instilled so much respect for life and people into my system and also work ethic. There’s no such thing as “giving up” in our culture and I’m grateful for that. I’ve watched everyone around me work hard to get to where they are now and that has really shaped how I go about my day-to-day pursuit of life.

    G&P: What advice would tell your 21 yr. old self?

    PBY: Be patient. Cling to God and stay focused. Don’t let anyone waste your time and understand that your vision will require you to be clear about life and to make the right decisions.

    Either/Or Roundup:

    1. Lagos or Abuja?
    Lagos! I’ve never been to Abuja, so I’m bias. LOL

    2. Amala or Iyan?
    Iyan, definitely Iyan.

    3. Coffee or Tea?
    Tea

    4. Instagram or Snap Chat?
    That’s a tough one. LOL. I think I’ll go with Instagram. It’s quicker for me to scroll.

    5. Celebrity Apprentice or Shark Tank?
    Definitely, Shark Tank! So inspiring to watch people who made it from the show.

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