5 benefits of being close to your siblings

 

1. No one can call you out like a person that shared the same womb you came from. Your siblings have seen you at your worst and best while growing up so they usually know you a lot better than most people. When you think you’re untouchable, nobody brings you back down to earth better than a sibling calling you by a silly nickname that you had back in the day.
2. On the same note, your siblings usually know your true potential and can push you when you are second guessing yourself. My brothers and I gas each other up with compliments as quick as we are to make fun of each other. For example, we all know my younger brother has the best legs in the family, somehow I have the best brains, and my older brother just eludes a cool self-confidence that can only be countered by Idris Elba himself (I sometimes think they kind of look alike too but that’s just me).
3. They can be key players in choosing the person you spend the rest of your life with. Studies show that we usually model our desires in a partner based on our experiences with our family. So having to spend most of our lives with a sibling that sometimes gets on our nerves is actually good practice for the partner you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.
4. Entertainment! My younger brother is truly an entertainer and growing up with him definitely led to a lot of laughs from his pretty on-point impersonations and “inside jokes” type humor. For example, when we at the Essence Festival last weekend he saw a guy trying to hit on a girl and my brother immediately whispered “le soif” which is French for “the thirst”. This was an inside joke from way back when there was a thirsty guy at this Kenyan party we were at and we had to speak French so no one could understand us.
5. Lifelong side-kicks! No matter how deep I am in some mess, I always know that my brothers have my back and similarly I have theirs. I honestly couldn’t imagine life without my brothers and I pray that we may grow old together!

As a last thought, I have never known how it would be to have a sister as I am an only girl. But I am really not good at sharing so I am kind of glad it worked out that way. My mom looks young enough to be my sister and now I have a sister in love (not law, as we say in my household to describe marital family). I also have a little niece and based on my baby face I could probably pass as her sister too so I guess God knew what he was doing by only giving me brothers! 🙂 ❤

Taking Stock: June

home store pic
At Home Decor, June 2018

The last time I did a taking stock post was April which is a different season so it just makes sense to do one for the summer season we are now in.

Making: my bedroom prettier with each run to furniture and home décor stores. My bedroom theme is mainly black and white although my bedding colors are mainly dark blue and white. I totally revamped my room this year with new furniture, carpet, and bedding. I wouldn’t call myself an interior designer but I do know what I like. So far, I am happy with the look.

Eating: is not as healthy as it usually is. I blame this on the summer season because it inspires you to eat out a lot because who wants to be inside during good weather. My weakness is the Maui Wowie pizza from mellow mushroom which has jerk chicken, pesto, banana peppers and thick crust. I actually ate this pizza twice this week so pray for me y’all.

Drinking: Ice pops. Another summer weakness is flavored ice pops which I eat every day because they’re so good for calming down the body and brain (at least that’s how I justify my intake). Luckily the brand I like is only sold in the summer so this won’t be a yearlong thing.

Reading: I can’t make this up by Kevin Hart. I know he’s cheated both of his wives but my favorite non-fiction books to read are those written by comedians. After not being able to get Trevor Noah’s book at the library, I thought Kevin Hart’s book would suffice for now. So far it’s actually an interesting book.

Playing: lots of tennis. This week I played tennis three days for a total of 4 hours of play time. This week I discovered muscles I didn’t even know I had when I played an older lady (maybe 30-40 years older than me) and she whooped me which goes to show that tennis is a lifelong sport. However, the sunscreen I’ve been using is causing breakouts on my face so I am ditching it and trying Aveeno SPF 70. I hope this works.

Creating: memories with my family. My younger brother graduated in May and we’re happy that he’s now started his career. My little niece is getting smarter and bigger every day. We are all hoping that she’ll be left handed so she can be an undefeatable tennis play (and by we, I mean me haha).

Wishing: that everyone who is hurting in the world, may find peace within themselves and their greater purpose on this earth. There’s entirely too much loss and pain in this world.

Enjoying: discovering new music. I am a soundcloud type of girl and I credit most of my musical discoveries to the app. Yesterday, I discovered a new Indian artist known as Pav Dharia and I am so excited to listen to his full album.

Liking: positive energy. It’s always refreshing to meet people who have great vibes and resonate with your wavelength. I am happy to have found some of these people.

Wondering: what to wear today to a dinner my family has been invited to by a fellow Kenyan. I am thinking an African dress at the moment.

Loving: my current work life balance. I am blessed to have a job where I am not constantly stressed every day and to be able to have the time to enjoy life outside of work (i.e. tennis, vacation, and free weekends).

Hoping: my friends in Kenya are able to get me a book by a Kenyan author (namely Drunk by Jackson Biko).

Marveling: at how time is flying by. I can’t believe half the year is almost over. So much can happen in a day let alone 6 months. I am happy that so far, this year has been promising.

Wearing: my night gown because my official night clothes have either been bought for me by my mom are or “borrowed” from my mom.

Noticing: that romantic love does have seven stages: Stage 1: Appreciation. Stage 2: Infatuation.     Stage 3: Attraction. Stage 4: Impression. Stage 5: Conviction. Stage 6: Reaffirmation. Stage 7:         Commitment. I noticed this from watching an Indian movie, Dil Se, last night which draws from     the seven stages of love in its story.

Knowing: that life is full of ebb and flows (up and downs) which is what makes the experience so interesting. As Forrest Gump would say, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Thinking: that music is the spice of life. It truly makes life more enjoyable, more bearable, more relatable.

Feeling: at peace. Namaste fellow readers. May peace be with you. 🙂 ❤

5 reasons why travel is so important

mom and dad
Mom and Dad, 1987

I would like to preface this post by saying that if it wasn’t for travel, I wouldn’t exist. My parents are both from different parts of Kenya and if my dad never traveled for a work assignment to my mom’s area, then my father would not be Mr. Wangondu. On this glorious fathers’ day, I am grateful that Mr. Wangondu is my dad as I call him and I thank him 100x for making that first move to travel to Ukambani and that second move of choosing my mom as his wife. So without further ado, this back story leads me to my first point.

  1. Travel can be important, not only in finding love but also in assessing it. My father and mother as pictured in the photo above took a trip to visit a long lost uncle during their first year of dating. As my dad tells the story of this treacherous trip of not knowing exactly where they were going, he makes sure to emphasize that the trip established that my mother was the woman for him. The way someone handles being in a different place and a long journey can tell you a lot about them. As such, it is important to take trips with your potential mates.
  2. It gives you a wider view of nature. The world is an oyster as they say and so you have to travel in order to see the full picture of this oyster. There are so many wonders of the world, some famous and others non-discovered. For example, visiting a world wonder like the Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa was such an exhilarating experience as it made me realize that mother nature has so many curves and crevices. Like really mother nature’s body is like woah when you really think about it (Cue Maya’s- my love is like wo).
  3. It allows you to experience the diversity and similarity of humanity. If you travel throughout the world, there will be of course so many new faces and things to see. Through this diversity of others, you will probably also notice what makes us similar. For example, I brought samosas to work the other day and one of my co-workers mentioned that it’s so interesting that all cultures have some sort of meat filled pastries (i.e. burritos, wontons, pizza bites, samosas, etc). I had never thought about that but I definitely have to agree as when I was in South Africa, I noticed that they also eat corn meal dishes like Sima in East Africa and like Grits in the U.S.A.
  4. It inspires you with new ideas. If you think about all the historical travel figures such as Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, and Mansa Musa, there was a trade of not just items but also of ideas between their countries and the lands they traveled to (not found since that would insinuate that they were lost). Similarly, when you travel you learn about different foods, fashions, and language while also sharing the same with the people who interact with you.
  5. This may vary but travel can also to lead to higher spirituality or appreciation of life. First of all, being able to travel is a physical and financial blessing as everyone is not able to do so. I am definitely a water sign because something about being closer to water really relaxes me. This might happen to everyone but I also sleep like a baby after spending the day swimming in the ocean. The best part of traveling is discovering what lights up your soul, for some it is nature while for others it may be tall buildings or even other humans. The only way to know is, yeah you guessed it, travel.

I wish you all the best in your current and future travels. As my brother likes to say, may the people say that you veni, vidi, vici (came, saw, and conquered- in a non Columbus type of way). 🙂 ❤

5 dating DON’Ts that lead to bad relationships

5 don'ts
June, 2018
  1. Don’t settle for less just because it’s available. I think all of us have settled at least once for a relationship we knew wasn’t working. This could be even in friendships where your friends are toxic and only bring drama into your life. If you improve your self-love, you come to realize that no person is worth losing your happiness. You don’t have to be quick to person off as Cardi B would say but at least if you notice a bad pattern, you should be strong enough to say I deserve better.
  2. Don’t try to force something to work despite red flags. Again I can raise my hand for partaking in this one as well. I’ve dating people who I knew had some qualities that I didn’t like as I was ignoring those red flags because overall, they were “nice guys”. Don’t fall in the trap of rationalizing people’s behavior. If they have bad habits and are not wiling to change, be strong enough to let them go.
  3. Don’t allow someone to not prioritize your presence in their life while you have made them a priority in your life. Simply stated, you can’t force someone to love you let alone love you the right way. If someone thinks that texting you once in a while and never consistently making an effort to be in your presence, then nip that in the nub. I’ve dated a workaholic who was like this so due to his work schedule, we couldn’t plan things ahead like vacations etc. However, it came to a point where I realized if this person is not really prioritizing me right now when we’re young with no kids, then things will even be worse if we get married. So another tip would be to analyze somebody’s behavior now and put it in perspective of your future married life.
  4. Don’t date someone who is only focused on the physical you unless that’s what you’re looking for as well. I think this is especially relevant in the summer season where people are just looking to have fun and not be tied down. If you ignore this rule what usually ends up happening is you falling for someone who is not emotionally available. Be true to yourself and know what you’re looking for so you don’t just accept whatever comes along.
  5.  Don’t accept someone who doesn’t know how to love you through your love languages. There’s a questionnaire you can take to learn what your top love languages are (I will leave the link below). For example, my top love languages are “acts of service”, “receiving gifts” and “words of affirmation”. I usually make it a point now to share my love language information with the person I am with so they know what type of love really resonates with me. Vice versa, I also ask that they complete the questionnaire so I can know theirs as well. I will admit that despite sharing this information, some people still don’t step up to the plate because they are not romantic enough or are just not trying. So once you recognize that someone isn’t making the effort to love you the way you want to be loved, you should be courageous enough to walk away and look for something better. 🙂 ❤

Love language questionnaire link (Free) : http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/

5 things the royal wedding (Harry + Meghan) taught me

AirBrush_20180520152900
May 2018

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t watch the full royal wedding ceremony mainly because I love my sleep. It was all over by the time I woke up yesterday but I definitely kept up with the course of events via instagram and twitter (twitter is my happy place by the way). I think the most interesting part about the royal wedding is not the ceremony but more so the love story between Meghan and Harry. Their love story has taught me a lot and I’ve decided to share the 5 main things that have stuck with me about this beautiful union of interracial, intercontinental, and intersectional love.

 

  1. Meghan is a divorcee and yet she still managed to find a man who loves her enough to break customary tradition. Imagine how she probably felt after the failure of her first marriage, just hoping that it wasn’t too late to find love again. Then not only does she find love but love with odds against her. Then despite these odds, Harry still chooses her. Ladies and gentleman, I am surprised a meteor hasn’t come crashing to earth yet because this story is so wild and beyond my imagination. The point from this is you should never allow someone to tell you that they can’t be with you because of their family or because of their title, career, etc. If someone wants you, they’ll move heaven and earth to be with you.
  2. You should never beat yourself up over a failed relationship, marriage, etc. I am sure walking away from her first marriage was not easy for Meghan. A lot of people are seeking inspiration from her relationship with Harry. However, there’s a deeper message from her first relationship. The message to me is that you should never settle for less than what you desire and what you deserve. Somewhere deep in Meghan’s heart, she knew that her first husband was not fulfilling her life in the way she wanted and instead of settling for complacency, she stepped out to look for something better. That hope is something we can all believe in (sorry for stealing your tag line, Obama). During most of my break-ups, it’s always because I realize that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with said person. I am sure Meghan wishes she had realized that before marrying her first husband but it’s better late than never. So don’t settle for less. Look for the person who sets your heart on fire and makes you feel down right amazing.
  3. True love always comes on time. This is something my dad actually taught me. If you the love that has come to you is not fitting into your life and seems to have come at the wrong time, it’s not true love. True love comes when your heart and life is ready to experience it. If this fairy tale love had come earlier for Meghan (let’s say in her 20s), she probably would have never been fulfilled in her acting career because she would have been forced to give that up to be part of British royalty. So yes she’s 36 years old and this love is just on time. She’s not the only woman who was in her mid-thirties and unmarried. Best believe, she won’t be the last. So if some of us are destined for the same, don’t curse your life. Don’t hurry love, you never know what destiny has in store for you (hopefully a prince lol).
  4. Be true to yourself. Even if you are marrying a prince, your life is still yours. If you want to walk down the aisle in a simple wedding dress and bare minimum makeup, do you baby. While the world was watching and expected extravagance, Meghan chose to stick to her own personal style. That in itself was a pretty bold move despite the simplicity of her look. Also note, that Harry still looked at her like she was wearing a decadent Victoria secret fantasy lingerie set. I guess you can amp this up by wearing a potato sack to your wedding and seeing if your man looks at you the same (haha I am just joking). But anyway, moral of the story is be unapologetically you.
  5. Lastly, love knows no rules and no boundaries. There’s an African proverb that says “If you stay where you were born, you’ll end up marrying your cousin.” I paraphrased this quote but essentially it means, you should always look for new experiences, new places to see, and new people to meet. If you network very well, you have a higher probability of meeting possible suitors. As you all probably know, Meghan and Harry met through being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend (that friend is the real MVP by the way). Through new experiences, Meghan is now living across the pond with a prince as the Duchess of Sussex. Cue God’s plan for the millionth time.

And with that, I’ll leave you with a final quote shared during the wedding ceremony. 🙂 ❤

If humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.”  – Bishop Michael Curry

The male perspective on dating ft  5 comments from male readers

 

male persp final.png
April 2018

So I learn a lot from my readers, especially my male readers who are quick to tell me what the male perspective is on certain topics such as cheating, marriage, and dating in general. As such, this blog has been due for a while now. I admit that I didn’t write it up sooner because I couldn’t figure out how to not water down the words of my male readers. Well, the lightbulb went off today and decided to share their words in the raw form. Word for word. No filters. I share my thoughts underneath the quotes so you can get my perspective but this post is not about me. It’s about the men. So without further ado, here are the top 5 comments about dating from my male readers.

  1. “Yeah women do take advantage of nice men but at the end of the day it’s them who lose. The guy might be damaged for some time but we always pick up the threads.”
  • I agree with this sentiment that nice guys may finish last but they actually win the race.
  1. “The thought that someone you trust with your life can be so casual with your heart is not something I’d wish on anybody but unfortunately that’s the world we’re living in hence, the need to protect oneself.”
  • The first relationship advice that my dad gave me was “don’t give your heart to anyone.” In my opinion, I don’t give my heart easily but I can sometimes rush in to love like a fool so it’s definitely smart to not wear your heart on your sleeve when it comes to dating.
  1. “Most females actually have their guards on. It’s like they don’t trust no matter how a guy tries due to past relationships.”
  • I think a lot of guys complain about this but you must understand the quote “once bitten, twice shy.” We would be fools not to protect ourselves after being hurt. However, ladies please don’t build a Great Wall of China around your heart. Maybe a little fence might do.
  1. “I think Kenyans we get confused here in the U.S. We love our own but yet we act like we are trying to rediscover each other.”
  • The guy who made this comment has proposed that we need a forum of Kenyan women vs men in the diaspora when it comes to dating. If you’re in support of such a forum, please comment below and propose which city this should be held.
  1. “The older, I get, the more I realize how corrupt the institution of marriage has become especially in 2018. I’m yet to see a happily married couple. I think after the initial excitement is over, people just tolerate each other.”
  • The man that shared this perspective went on to say that he has been in “numerous relationships some of which would’ve ended up in marriage”. Also, he recognizes that his “feelings are subject to change” as he is “still evolving”.

Thank you reading. As always, the comment section is open for further thoughts. 🙂 ❤

Happiness in marriage ft Will Smith

novfash6
2014 South Africa

I recently saw a video of Will Smith explaining how he and his wife were reflecting on the revelations they discovered about love during their marriage. The main revelation that Will shared is that he and Jada realized that your spouse cannot be responsible for your own happiness. He continues to share that someone can make you laugh or make you feel good but no one can make you feel happy. Happiness is one’s responsibility. The minute you place that responsibility on someone else is when you set yourself up for failure.

Will Smith even claimed that the concept that two people become one during marriage is a fallacy. As Frida Kahlo would say, you are the subject you know best so you are best suited to meet your needs. You are on your own journey while your spouse is on theirs. Your role should be supportive like a cheerleader and less of a “parental role”. I think this is why a lot of people complain later in life that they gave up their dreams for their spouse. If you’re trying to be one then merging both of your goals, desires, and interests is not going to be seamless. If you let your partner pursue their goals while you also do the same, there will probably be more success and less resentment in the relationship.

Lastly, Will stated that when you both you and your partner come to each other as full cups already fulfilled with your happiness then the relationship is more fruitful. I’ve noticed over the years in my parent’s marriage that when they both have their hobbies and time to themselves, they are a lot happier with each other. So yes I think Will and Jada are onto something. Maybe that’s why they’ve also aged so well. Low stress and happy marriage probably does equate with better aging so I will be taking this message to heart. If you’re interested in watching the clip of Will Smith discussing this topic, please see the link below. 🙂 ❤

 

Physical Attraction: why does it matter?

bham pic
February 2018

Physical attraction. It’s a primal instinct that is embedded in our DNA. Some women like myself prefer tall men cause they make us feel protected while some men prefer women who have more cushion because they are seemingly more ripe for childbirth. Despite our evolution from hunter gatherers to smart phone users, physical attraction still remains as a primal need in relationships and our social interactions. The question is: does physical attraction really matter?

In my humble opinion and from my observations, the answer is yes. If you’re not physically attracted to someone, you are 95% less likely to take them seriously as a potential partner (hence the friend zone). This phenomenon makes us shallow as humans but what we forgot is that us humans are also animals. In the animal kingdom, there’s a lot that goes into attracting a suitor (mating calls, feather arrangement, scent etc). Similarly, a person’s voice, scent, and dress also factor into our attraction to them. I don’t think this is anything to be ashamed of. if anything, we should embrace our senses in terms of how they can help us end up with the right mate.

The flip side of the coin is that as much as we have to be aware of the physical, logic should always trump primal instinct. For example, if a woman looks like Beyoncé but has the intelligence of a 5th grade drop-out, then your logic should inform you that such a match will not survive the test of time. Similarly, women who pick men based on how much money he has are setting themselves up for a lonely marriage because those dollar bills won’t keep you warm at night.

Simply stated, your head (eyes included) and your heart should be in agreement at the partner that you select. As I’ve probably stated  before, I believe that love is a choice so please make the right choice for your whole self.

FYI: I have now organized the journal part of this blog into four sections: dating & relationships, lifestyle, music, lessons learned, and school. I hope this makes your readership easier 🙂 ❤

What is love?

guka valentines day
Guka Ndogo’s valentine’s day feature – 2005, Kenya

This coming Wednesday is Valentine’s Day which is one of the highly debated holidays in our society. Some say its a capitalist exploit of love. Others say it’s the only holiday that celebrates romantic love. Most critics usually claim that they show their love to their partner 365 days a year and therefore, Valentine’s day is unnecessary. I think my stance is probably a mix of both. I don’t think Valentine’s day is that important but neither are some of the other holidays we have (Columbus day) yet we still choose to observe them. Either way, the most important thing on Valentine’s day and any other day is to understand what love is as well as what love is not. Therefore, I have come up with 10 personal descriptions of what love is to me.

  1. Love is when my dad clipped my shoe laces in high school because i was lazy and refused to tie my shoe laces when they came untied.
  2. Love is when my mom wakes up at the crack of dawn when we’re hosting parties so she can make all the amazing food that we love.
  3. Love is when my little brother gives me the biggest teddy bear hugs just because.
  4. Love is when my older brother made sure i had spending money in high school.
  5. Love is when my sister in law gifts me all her nice clothes that she no longer wears.
  6. Love is when my baby niece screams with excitement when she sees me after a long time apart.
  7. Love is when my grandfather’s brother (Guka Ndogo) took care of his wife for 40+ years when she went blind. Despite being 95+ years, he died only after his wife passed away. Their renewal of vows on their 50th wedding anniversary was actually featured in the Daily Nation, Kenya’s premier newspaper.
  8. Love is when my best friend would give me numerous car rides in high school when I didn’t have a car. Also, I can never forget that she’s attending 95% of my family’s graduations.
  9. Love is when I take myself out to get a massage and take time out to treat myself.
  10. Love is when I put my heart and soul into writing a blog post that touches someone’s life. On that note, I love all the feedback I get from those who read my blog.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s day whether you celebrate it or not! 🙂 ❤

The perils of dating after college

halloween
College Halloween 2012

They say that college is the last place where you’ll have as many opportunities to meet your future mate. So clearly this presents a challenge for those of us who are still single after college. Leaving an atmosphere where there are lots of people available to mix and mingle definitely makes dating after college a lot of harder. Last year I wrote a post about why I don’t really like dating apps like Tinder but this year I can actually say that dating apps can be really useful depending on how you use them. My main grievance on dating apps is that they seem to rush people into getting into a relationship without knowing the person really well. However, after using a dating app known as Bumble that empowers women by requiring women to message the guy first, my mentality has changed (fyi, you can also use bumble to meet people for friendship and not for dating). So let me breakdown my strategy on how you can overcome the struggles of dating after college.

  1. Become more involved in your community. Whether that means joining a volunteer group, church, or whatever tickles your fancy, please do yourself a favor and get out there. You can’t meet anyone while locked up in your house.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. If you like someone, ask for their number and invite them to hang out sometime. If I am trying to make friends, I usually invite people to play tennis with me. Playing a sport is a great way to know someone and how they deal with frustrations, wins, losses, etc. Also, it definitely helps your heart health lol.
  3. Have an idea of what you’re looking for. Before I started using Bumble and put myself out there to date people, I sat down and typed up a list on my phone detailing what qualities my partner MUST have and qualities I am willing to compromise on. For example, one of my must haves is “a sense of humor” and a quality I am willing to compromise on is height (don’t get me wrong, I like giraffe height just like the next girl but that’s now what makes someone a good person).
  4.  Employ the theory of multi-marketing in your dating life. Multi-marketing is what a lot of self-employment scams are made of: basically, you sell a product to your family and friends while also trying to get them to join you in selling the same product. The person who actually owns the product gets a lot more out of it than the person who is selling it. So my friend, meet people and allow other people to take notice of you (the product in this case). The more people you engage with, the better chance you have that you’ll get a customer. So don’t stick to one potential mate in the beginning stages of dating. Date at least two people at one time (if you can handle it) so that you’re not so disappointed when it doesn’t work out with one of them. If you can’t date multiple people at once, at least try to have other options.
  5. Work on yourself if you are not finding what you’re looking for. I got this tip from a friend and I think it’s a great tip that also goes along with some awesome advice from my father. My father believes that it is better for things to fall into your plate at the right time. Just like a meal starts with an appetizer, entree, and finishes of with a dessert so does your life. So it is better to have your dessert when your ready. In this case, relationships are like desserts so take your time finding the right partner for you. Never rush into things just because you feel lonely. Focus on yourself and practice self- love no matter whether you’re single or taken.

Well, that’s all folks! I wish you all the best in finding and creating love in your life. ❤ 🙂