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February 2016

    How To Balance School For Your Nigerian Parents and Yourself

    How to Balance School for Your Parents and Yourself

    Image Via: Olu Eletu

    As a Sunday School teacher and former Youth Leader at my church, I hear it time and time again, “My parents want me to study [medicine, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, accounting or any other profession they can brag about]…but I want to be [an artist, a writer, a musician, an actor or any other creative endeavor that seems more like a hobby to them than a career].” I was in the same boat when I attended my university. My mom had it all planned out for me.  I was going to study Pharmacy, graduate and earn a lot of money. Career decision done. However, I initially told her, around the age of 10 I believe, that I was going to become an Advertising Executive. After a long talk about her sacrifice to move to this country and how Nursing has provided for this family, and this and that, my dreams were crushed, so I thought. After much rationalization, I decided that law would be a happy medium. I went through school, starting practicing and realized that I would have much preferred a career in Marketing. So, I decided to hustle and started a dual career in Marketing & Blogging while still practicing law until I branch out full-time. Looking back, there were some things I did while in school that I’m glad I did and other things I wish I had done.

    1. Minor In Your Preferred Major

    If you’ve been trying to convince your parents that majoring in Dance will eventually profit in large dividends and they aren’t convinced, don’t worry. Remember, higher education is really about learning first and a salary second. It doesn’t hurt to major in Biology, after all, you do need to know where your heart is located, but it would be wise to minor in a field you want to pursue in the future. If that won’t work, than get a Masters. However, you may need to take a few prerequisite courses before you can qualify for graduate school, but it’s a small price to pay to pursue your dreams. What I learned about life is that you never know where you will end up. You may become a dancer who eventually specializes in physical therapy for other dancers. Having an understanding of multiple disciplines helps you to stand out and create a path that’s uniquely yours.

    2. Be Strategic About Your Electives

    You already have to take electives. Schools require them to encourage students to have a well-rounded degree. This is an opportunity to be strategic and focus your energy on courses that feed your own interests. Even though, I majored in English and Psychology, I took an Acting course just because I was interested in pursing it. The sky’s the limit with electives. They are like creative freebies. Electives don’t affect your major and it’s already built into your tuition. I wish I took a graphic design and marketing courses while in school rather than paying out-of-pocket for them as a professional. Utilize the opportunities you have while they are there.

    3. Intern In Your Dream Field

    While in school, I had some amazing internships. For law school, I purposely only applied to schools in NYC, because I wanted to be around the fashion industry. I always wanted to do something with design and fashion, so I strategically positioned myself to be at the forefront of those opportunities. While my classmates were working for judges and district attorneys, I became a Public Relations intern with Christian Louboutin. I wanted an out-of-the-box experience. I was able to meet Mr. Louboutin himself and some other designers, dropped off shoes at the Vogue offices and called Rachel Zoe’s office a few times during awards season. As an added bonus, because I was a law student, the Communications Director saw that I had a unique skill set for the position and gave me the task of monitoring Christian Louboutin’s Intellectual Property matters too. I not only learned a lot about Fashion PR, but I also learned from the company’s attorneys too. It was a win/win situation for me.

    Another memorable experience was my Visual Merchandising internship in Bloomingdales’ Marketing department while in undergrad. I had to arrive at 7am to dress the mannequins and change the promotional displays before the store opened for the day. I learned about how marketing campaigns affect consumers’ buying decisions, just by setting up displays. It was a rewarding experience, and one of the first steps towards my Marketing career. Overall, my internships were eye openers. I figured out that I preferred Marketing over PR, without majoring in either fields or even taken a course. Internships are a great way to test whether the field you admire is a good fit for you.

    4. Network Outside Your Major

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve pretty much obtained most of my jobs and internships through someone else. There is so much information out there, that it’s easy to overlook some great opportunities if you’re not aware of them. Networking in fields outside your major, can help you secure internships and jobs you wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Who says only Business students can attend a Future Business Leader of America meeting? If you’re an Engineering major who loves going to art museums, than attend an Art History seminar. Expand your inner circle of influence and be creative. Conduct informational interviews with people in the field you’re passionate about over coffee to get an inside scoop of their everyday routine. Volunteer at events or join a committee. Meet as many people as you can. Soon, you will be surrounded by a network of people that are related to the career path you want to pursue.

    5. Let Your Expertise Influence Your Parents

    Nigerian parents would prefer their children to focus on certain professions, partly because of the stability and financial potential. Doctors, lawyers, engineers and nurses aren’t going anywhere. Those professions are needed for society to run effectively in one way or another. That’s why these professions have good salaries, because those professionals have trained long and hard for a tough and consuming career. However, society is changing. The highest paid people aren’t just doctors and lawyers, they are also people who influence society, period. Nowadays, social media personalities are singing to the bank, because they have created a brand that influences followers to pay attention to what they have to say and offer. Many started as students and have become professionals doing what they love. However, this doesn’t happen overnight. They continue to develop an expertise in their area, which influences people to support their brand. This also applies to parents. If you become an expert in a particular field that you are passionate about, your parents can be influenced by it and become supportive too.

    Parents would be more willing to let you major in Art if they see you practicing daily or taking some type of initiative. It’s hard for your parents to support your endeavors, if you say you want to be a music producer, but sit on the couch watching TV for 5 hours a day. If you want to act, join a local theatre, engage them when you’re practicing your monologue and invite them to your rehearsals and plays. Begin to develop an expertise they can’t ignore. Soon, both of you would be proud of what you are doing. Plus, being a passionate expert could also increase your earning potential, which would have your parents sleeping easier at night. They can relax knowing you won’t be asking them for money much longer.

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    My Fragrance Regimen

    Perfume Day-Night

    I love having a signature scent. Each year, I choose a fragrance that I adopt into my repertoire and than rotate to another fragrance the following year. Last year, I stumbled upon Zara’s collection of fragrances when Shirley B. Eniang mentioned on her channel that she wears Zara fragrances. At the time, I was looking for a soft everyday scent. I took a trip to Zara and tested out their fragrance wall. When I sniffed Femme on my wrist, I knew that I found the one! It has the perfect balance of feminine and soft allure with a confident and elegant foundation. I love it so much I haven’t found another fragrance that I want to switch to yet. However, I noticed that I was mixing Femme with other scents in the evenings, because I wanted a more complex scent at night. I realized it was time to get an evening fragrance that had more of a presence. Black Amber it was. They are like day and night, literally.

    What fragrance do you wear?

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    5 Unconventional Flower Companies for Valentine’s Day

    The Bouqs Co.

    Image Via: BloomThat

    Delivered flowers are one of the quintessential Valentine’s Day gift to get. However, how many times have you given or received flowers that looked half-dead and limp on arrival? Or the color was a bright as pictured or the arrangement not as full? from one of the big brand stores. There are some new flower companies that are making their mission to woo consumers back to buying flowers online by delivering fresh farm-direct flowers at reasonable prices. So instead of ProFlowers or a similar variety try these options:

    1. The Bouqs Company

    The Bouq Co.

     

    The Bouqs. Company delivers their flowers direct from the farm, which means you get your arrangements within 2-4 days instead of 10-14 days like big retailers. Each arrangement can be purchased from 3 categories, the Original, Deluxe or Grand depending on the amount of stems. For a bonus, the blooms are delivered in craft paper instead of generic vases, which is a welcomed change from the conventional norm on Valentine’s Day.

    2. Flower Muse

    Flower MuseThe Flower Muse is great for the lover of premium blooms. It features premium farm direct garden roses and peony arrangements and has a wedding flowers section where you can choose flowers based on the season. An added bonus is the free delivery on any order.

    3. Farmgirl Flowers

    Farmgirl Flowers

     

    Farmgirl Flowers originally just shipped within San Francisco, now it ships nationwide for those who love more organic arrangements. These arrangements come wrapped in burlap and gives greenery some attention, as well as, the blooms. For Valentine’s Day, they are including a gift box full of not-your-standard-candy treats.

    4. BloomThat

    Bloomthat

     

    BloomThat is another newbie to the flower scene. Dubbed the “Uber of Flowers,” ordering flowers from them is as easy as a swipe and 3 taps on their app that gets fresh flowers delivered to you fast.  They have a variety of arrangements at very affordable prices.

    5. BloomNation

    Bloomnation

     

    Instead of one single company ships amazing floral arrangements, BloomNation helps you choose from various florist within your location based on their arrangements that are pictured.  It highlights many different design styles and blooms, so you don’t have to get stuck with the standard rose for Valentine’s Day.

    Do you like to get flowers in the mail?

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    The Galentine Gift Guide

    Galentine's Gift Guide

    As Valentine’s Day approaches, think about the gals in your life that have been with you through the salty break-ups and joyful make-ups. Here’s a guide to honor your Galentine.

    1 // Flirty perfume for ladies night out

    2 // Sugar lips to satisfy her sweet tooth

    3 // Heart earrings to match her heart of gold

    4 // Luxe bath oil for relaxing nights

    5 // A sweet candle to liven up any room

    6 // A simple, chic clutch to accent her trendy style

    7 // A blushy, bronze palette to highlight her natural glow

    What are you getting for your gals?

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    How to Care for Natural Hair in Braids

    Braids Natural Hair Pos

    Image Via: Munaluchi Bride

    At least once a year, I get braids installed in my hair to give my natural hair rest from my usual hair routine. It also gives me rest from spending at least 2 hours for my wash and style routine. Even though braids are a good protective style, they still need to be handled with care, so you can maximize the growth and repair potential.

    1. Apply a Pre-Braid Treatment

    It’s important to prep your hair before you install braids. I try to apply a protein treatment on my hair at least 1 to 2 weeks before I get braids. The protein treatment helps strengthen my hair and prevents unnecessary breakage from the pulling and tugging of long braids. After the protein treatment, I like to follow-up with a deep conditioner or a conditioning mask to restore the moisture back into my hair, which is so important. Protein treatments strip the hair of moisture during its strengthen process, so it’s important to restore the moisture.

    2. Use a Moisturizing Spray

    Moisturizing sprays are a must to prevent dry hair and an itchy scalp.  The first week I installed my braids, I didn’t use a moisturizing spray, because I was in Nigeria and they didn’t have the product I like to use. Believe me, my scalp suffered for it. My scalp was so dry and itchy that I had to break down and get any kind of moisturizing spray to combat the itchiness.  Now, I have learned to buy my products in advance, before I get braids, so I can start using them immediately without any mishaps. I recommend Grandma’s Secret Recipe Will-Gro Braid Spray it contains natural essential oils which helps not only moisture, but also nourish the hair and scalp. This product is the truth!

    3. Wash Braids Regularly

    Have you ever seen the ball of dirt and lint at the base of your braid? That’s comes from product build-up mix with daily dirt essentially. To help prevent that, I try to wash my hair at least once every two weeks. I said I try. It’s not easy to maintain a schedule sometimes, because the beauty of braids is that they are low-maintenance.  With a busy schedule, sometimes I forget to wash my braids or I’m just plain lazy at that opportune moment. Try to combat the laziness. If not for you, than for others’ noses. If you can’t muster the daunting task of washing all your braids with shampoo and running water. Try an alternative by applying witch hazel with a cotton ball to cleanse your scalp. Witch hazel is a natural cleanser, so it will do the job with less stress. I prefer mixing shampoo and water in a spray bottle, spraying my scalp and massaging it to a nice lather than rinsing it out under the shower head. That way, the soapy water can run down the length of my braids to cleanse my entire braid with much effort.

    4. Protect the Edges

    Some don’t really like getting braids, because they had bad experiences with braids pulling out their edges from the root creating bald spots. I’ve had a few ripped edges myself. However, I’ve learned to be more gentle with my edges. I try tell the braider to resist pulling my edges too tight. I also have tried starting my braids in “steps.” Essentially, the braider starts each braid as mini cornrows to secure the hair to the scalp and than braids or twists as normal. It prevents the hair from pulling when it starts to grow. I also try to re-braid my edges when they are growing out at times.

    5. Wear Updos

    It is better to wear updos and static styles to reduce manipulation of your hair than to wear it loose. If your braids stay put, than your hair is less likely to get damaged underneath. Your hair will be protected, hence having a protective style. Braids are intended to be low-maintenance. Once I’m settle on an updo style for the week, I just put on my satin bonnet at night and spray my moisturizer in the morning.Voilà!

    How do you take care of your natural hair when wearing braids?

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