Style goals

Hey guys,

As the new year is waiting in the wings and everyone is making plans and setting goals for 2016, I thought it fit to set my style goals. 2015  was the year of the bae and there are certainly style elements from 2015 that made the bae-list. 2016 will be the year to commit-or-commot [commit or get out] so I suppose I’ll see how many of these elements stand the test of time.

2015 was a good style year for me I feel (check back again in 5 years and I may feel very different) but I feel I found my beat style wise. Here are a few of my favorite looks and trends from 2015

  1. This Whole look
    I was a huge fan of the eyeliner dots trend in 2015. I felt it appealed to my baby doll side :). I had a few variations of the dots under my eyes; three dots, one dot, dots on only one side, whatever I was feeling really. I was inspired by Itsmyrayeraye and Lianne la Havas.
    Then of course there were the boyfriend shirts–always plaid or striped, perfectly oversized–these were just plain comfortable and lack that overt sexiness [WINNING!].
    Finally the high bun. This was such a staple seeing as all of my hair could finally make it all the way up my head :P. As much as I liked the black lipstick look, I didn’t rock it nearly enough to say that it was an element of my style this year.

 

Fro tales

2. Turtlenecks and sneakers

Seeing as winter hung around for a long time in Canada, I found a very faithful friend in my turtlenecks. No scarf necessary and will give any outfit an extra boost. I also wore my converses an whole lot more and seeing as slip-ons are back I brought those into my life again. Currently stalking a pair of New Balance’s right now but we’ll see if its more than just a crush :P.

turtleneck outfit ideas

3. Femininity

While my first two points may weaken the case I’m trying to make here, I know for a fact that my style had a real feminine lick this year. I was determined to put out more grown woman vibes so I definitely made an effort. This was the dress I designed for my graduation; décolleté, silk, earrings and all. (For those who know me, earrings are a big step). Not that I’ve ever really been a tomboy but 2015 saw me in a lot more cocktail dresses and demure accents than ever before.

Cocktail dress

4. Blue

Well pastels in general but blue especially was kind to me in 2015. I still don’t think I have a favourite colour because at some point purple was bae but blue definitely had my heart this year.

african girl

Looking forward to 2016 knowing that God has great plans for me. Wishing everyone the very best in all that you set out to do this coming year and I trust that you will slay as you do it 😉

 

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Fro Tales: New Lessons

5 things about longer natural hair

Hi Guys!

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating! :). I have loved Christmas for as long as I can remember; the food, family and presents. So although I can not give a tangible present to everyone reading this I figured now would be a good time to share a few more things I have learned about my hair.

In February, it would be four years since I last relaxed my hair.  A while ago I shared some things I had learned since being natural and now that I am almost four years in, here’s my updated list.

  1. Long hair=More time
    As my hair has grown, the “hair goals” comments have increased.   I’m not going to front and act like I don’t like those comments but sister, it is not easy to have a “hair goals fro”. Detangling takes longer because all of your shed hair just clings to other strands. Drying takes longer because well there’s more hair to dry. As a result of these two things, overall styling takes longer so you cannot afford to be re-doing your hair every other day. As such, I have found a few key styles that I rotate and anything I do to my hair starts from there.
    matching set- ibegan
  2.  What is the actual length of my hair anyway???
    This question is deeply rooted in the magic of shrinkage. I did a very basic length check on snapchat just to get a sense of where I’m at. [I tried uploading said video but it didn’t work :(. I will do another length check at some other point if it’s requested.] The thing about this is that when my hair is wet it is more elastic so it stretches longer than the length in the video [My hair in the video is just about bra strap length]. So if you’re looking for a little encouragement on your journey just check the length of your hair while it’s still wet :P.
  3. What worked in the past may not work anymore
    I don’t know if this is just me but I may have a conditioner that works wonders on my hair and then after 6 uses I no longer feel the silky softness I once did. I don’t know if that is just me getting used to the effect of the conditioner or if my hair truly gains immunity after a couple washes but I definitely feel the need to switch things up fairly regularly. I however have not allowed this to turn me into a product junkie. I just flip flop between my regular conditioner and my deep conditioner.

    image
    When those kinks stay poppin!
  4. Naps or nah?
    As my hair started getting longer I started to feel that my roots were a little dense and incredibly difficult to comb through. At first I thought this was new growth cause you know how when your hair is relaxed it gets harder to comb your roots as it grows out. But something about this theory just didn’t make sense to me. Remember those shed hairs I mentioned? Yea those little bad boys think they can just chill wherever they like and make your hair harder to manage. I realized this when I took the time to properly detangle only to be sliding out shed hairs that had been making my life difficult for goodness knows how long.
    mustard dress
  5. Combs? LOL!
    I never thought it would come to this friends, but I almost exclusively finger detangle my hair now! With shorter hair, combs work and you can be gentle and keep the breakage to a minimum. However, when combing my hair brought on flashbacks to my childhood I knew it was time to stop. I remember cringing every time my mum said it was time to do my hair–I know most black girls can relate to this–you’re sitting there begging for mercy while your mother keeps trying to convince you that it doesn’t hurt -_-. combing hair

Despite the struggles, I still love my kinky-frizzy-sometimes curly-has a mind of its own-sassy-fro. ❤

 

The Nigerian Woman- Diverse

Nneoma Nwankwo

Hi Guys!!

Back with another one! (Shout out to DJ Khalid still). Nneoma is one of the first friends I made in life (not nearly as dramatic as I just made it seem). She was in my age group in church so we just kinda grew up together. Needless to say we were cool kids :p. We have both evolved immensely since those days in our afro-puffs but this young woman here continues to make me so happy! She’s a true inspiration and I hope you all check out her work and see all of the amazing things she gets up to.

Nneoma-begin-Nigerian woman

Who are you (What are the things that make up your identity, likes, interests, quirks)

“Who are you” is such a difficult question! I’m Nneoma, and my name means Good mother. I’m really extroverted, so I enjoy being around people. I listen to music in African languages I don’t understand, particularly Amharic, Xhosa and Tamasheq. I can sing the songs literally word for word, but I have no clue what they mean, and I’m fine with that! But of course, I love my Nigerian music, Reggae, and Dancehall. I study Political Science, and Urban Planning, and I conduct extensive research on Menstrual Hygiene. I write poetry and fiction also, and I’m a scribbler–so I have couplets and unfinished story plots in the margins of all my Politics and Law textbooks. In my group of friends, I’m definitely the loudest, because I love making people laugh. I worry that I’m too pushy sometimes, because I’m the one in the group that’s like “Apply to this program! Send your paper to this conference!” but my friends love me anyway, so it’s fine. I have been really blessed in life: I have an amazing family, wonderful friends, and great opportunities. I can truly say that I’m immensely happy, and as much as I can, I try to ensure that people around me feel the same way.  

What do you feel being a Nigerian woman means

When I think of Nigerian women, three words instantly pop into my mind : humor, resilience and ambition. Almost every Nigerian woman I know is hilarious, we innately relate to everyone with humor and wit, and there’s always a way to ease up any mood and create a loving atmosphere with the way we talk and crack jokes. Although it’s starting to change (or get better), the Nigerian society has looked down on women as less than men for the longest time, and resilience is necessary to deal to with it. Furthermore, Nigerian women around the world are breaking down barriers, and really doing amazing in all fields, from entertainment to finance to politics. It’s amazing–I cannot imagine being anything but.

Has your identity as a Nigerian ever been questioned? Why and how did you respond?

I don’t think I ever had my identity questioned, until I started university in America. Even then, it was not so much being questioned, as being clarified by others who identified as Nigerian also. They were trying to “make sure” that I was a “real” Nigerian, you know, like “Omo, are you experiencing this culture shock? You fit cook jollof? Wetin dey happen na?” So my Nigerian-ness wasn’t so much being questioned, as it was being authenticated. I don’t think the purpose was to isolate Nigerians raised in America, or Americans of Nigerian descent, rather to find Nigerians with more similar experiences, and to build relationships with them.

When did you become conscious of your identity as a Nigerian woman?

I have always been aware of my identity as a Nigerian woman. I grew up in a household where Nigerian female icons were very celebrated, like I vividly remember the day Agbani Darego won Miss World, and I remembered it was important because she was a Nigerian woman, just like me (even though I was 6 years old at the time). I remember when Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was rising through the World Bank. My Mom actually wrote a wonderful book called “Gender Equality in Nigerian Politics,” and then became the first Nigerian woman to win an Oxford Reuters Fellowship. So even as a young girl, I was positively hyper-aware of my identity as a Nigerian woman.

What bothers you the most about Nigerian women?

I hate to make a sweeping generalization of both Nigerian men and women; but I’d have to say I hate that mentality that there are just things that men do, that a woman will have to put up with, especially in a romantic relationship. So like a man is cheating, hitting a woman or verbally abusing her, and it’s like, well, he’s a man, and that’s how they behave and just pray about it. I refuse to believe that somebody is (un)intentionally being terrible to me, and I should just sit there and take it (quietly) because he’s a man. Whether he is a boyfriend, a father figure, or just a male friend, if a man consistently mistreats me, I will permanently remove him from my life. Thanks to my parents’ marriage and my brothers and all my male Nigerian friends, I know what loving relationships between men and women should look like, and in the words of Lauryn Hill, “respect is just the minimum.”

What are you most proud of when you think of Nigerian women?

Honestly, I cannot even quantify how much I love Nigerian women. I think of my different Nigerian female friends, and they are so diverse in ethnicity and religion, but the bond is fantastic. Nigerian women have this great way of keeping our heads up, and forming beautiful relationships with each other. I think we are the most hilarious group of people–and where there is laughter, often that’s where you will find love. I am most proud of the drive that Nigerian women have–if we say we are going to accomplish something, good luck attempting to stand in the way of us and our goals.

Where can people find you and your work?

My professional Twitter: @nneomaen (!) I share there whenever my work gets published, or whenever something interesting happens in my life, which is everyday, if you ask me 🙂

The Nigerian Woman- Legacies

Ezi Odozor

Hi guys!

I would like to introduce this amazing woman to you! I met Ezi when I was in first year and my friend dragged me to an NSA event. She started the group and was president at the time. It’s a little crazy how three years later I was chosen to continue a legacy she had put in place. I remember thinking she was so cool and important then and its funny how that impression hasn’t changed at all even with time. Reading her post was really special for me because I felt it really spoke to the deep cultural ties that many Nigerian women can relate to. I know that you would enjoy reading this just as much as I did :)!Ezi The Nigerian Woman

Who are you (What are the things that make up your identity, likes, interests, quirks)?

My name is Ezinwanne Toochukwu Odozor—Ezi for short. I’m a graduate of the University of Toronto. I double majored in English and in Human Biology, specifically in Global Health.

Writing is my medium for expression—whether poetry, stories, essays or music.

Global Health is a field that allows me to be myself: to be passionate, to be an advocate, to write, to think, and to create. I specifically am working on getting into the field and focusing on child and maternal populations.

In my life I’ve been a counselor, a student service representative, a program coordinator for a medical residency program, an Executive Board Member and Unit President of a large Employee Union at a major University, a friend, a writer, a lover, a singer, a terrible saxophonist, a jewelry maker, and a goof.

I have been many things, but I think the core part of who I am is tied to my name. Ezinwanne means the good sibling, or neighbour.

In everything I’ve done, I’ve looked to support others and to really explore the human condition—whether through art, academia, or advocacy. That is who I am, I suppose.

What do you feel being a Nigerian woman means?

Huge question. It means being a woman, an African woman, in a world that will not readily recognize you. In a country blessed by every excellence of the natural world, but stressed by a colonial history. It means that you will add colour to the life of people around you. It means that whether Edo, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, or Tiv you will be born into a tradition of strength and will have the job of passing that strength on to others. It means that you will have to bear much and it will be a beautiful struggle. It means that you will have a network of sisters who will laugh and cry with you, but who will also make you shine your eyes on occasion.

It is hard to say what being a Nigerian woman means. It is a thing that you feel in your core and when you look at your sister, you just know she feels it too. That’s what I think at least.

Has your identity as a Nigerian ever been questioned? Why and how did you respond?

Definitely it has been: by friends, by strangers, by lovers.

I was born in Nigeria, but I came here when I was nearly two years old. Ever the busy body, I was walking, speaking fluently—in Igbo mind you—and, by all reports, causing all kinds of mischief.

When people ask me where I’m from, I say Nigeria. Inevitably they’ll ask when I came to Canada. When I say 1992 they smile and say, “Oh” or “You’re Canadian then,” as if this would undue my dual citizenship and safely place me in a plane of being that they could easily digest; that I must be one or the other. My response is to force a smile and say, “No I’m Nigerian.” I am Canadian too it’s true, but it is my Nigerian identity that has in great part added colour and flavour to my understanding of myself.

At 24, I still speak Igbo and understand it fluently. I’ve passed the test of the aunties: I can cook our many flavoured dishes, I know my tradition well, and I can tie a mean ichafu (headscarf for my Oyingbos; gele for my Yorubas).

My parents never let any of us children—whether born here or not—forget where we come from. They made sure we went to cultural events and meetings and sat us down many a night to remind us of our cultural duties. I am grateful for this. Igbos are a very strong, traditionally grounded people in general. As an academic in the field of African Literature (Postcolonial studies, literatures, etc) my Father in particular played a great role in fostering a connection to our Nigerianess.

Being Nigerian is more than a location and more than the number of years you spent steeping in one place or another.

I wrote a response for the Guardian on the topic of migration actually. They abridged it a bit. Read the full thing here

When did you become conscious of your identity as a Nigerian woman?

I’ve always been conscious of it. I’ve always been conscious of the fact that I’m female and of the fact that I’m Nigerian and of the intersection of the two. My consciousness of it as a young child was definitely not so ideological and intellectually developed as my consciousness of it is now, but I always aware of it. In the Igbo tradition as the ada of my Kindred—that is the first girl of my kindred, not just of my immediate family—there is a responsibility that comes with that, and so it’s a formal part of my consciousness. Again, my family respects the traditions of my people and so this is an important part of that.

What is your vision for Nigerian women?

I think we need more cohesion. I’m a supporter of group empowerment and cohesive competition—words abi? What I mean is that the group should gather together to push its members higher; not always by agreeing, but always by supporting, and by seeking each other out, such that no one feels alone in their quest. Empirically, there are way too many Nigerians for any of us to be feeling isolated or unsupported.  We also need to be more visible in our strength. Too often are we ready to bow and bend and appease. There are far too many Nigerian women achieving the impossible and yet, where are their collective stories? We cannot wait for others to sing for us. A Nigerian-feminist force would be a powerful one if developed into a movement. What would the west do without us—women and men of Africa, of Nigeria. If we realized our greatness as a collective, as women in particular, we would unstoppable. What a beautiful thought really.

Who is a Nigerian woman in your life who inspires you?

My mom. Perhaps that is cliché, but if you knew her it’d be undeniable that she is a beautiful force. The things she has been through; the things she does for people. All of them are gorgeously handled. She keeps telling us that when she retires she’ll become a lawyer. She’s tireless. She is a builder of people and of ideas. I enjoy hearing about the new programs that she brings into her school board to help the Children she teaches, especially the things she does to empower the special needs children. She doesn’t allow anyone to tell them that they are incapable, she believes that there is a way for everyone to come into their greatness. Whether they are market women or managers, Nigerian women have a kind of perseverance that is enviable.

Where can people find you and your work?

www.echoolibrary.wordpress.com