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! 🙂 ❤

New Olreans ft Essence fest trip

I am a visual person so the best way to show someone New Orleans is through an in-person tour or in pictures. My brother and I went on Saturday for Essence Fest and intended on coming back that same night. However, New Orleans has some magic and a family friend of ours who was there for a girls trip invited us to join them that night. Eventually, it was too late to go home so we crashed at their beautiful air bnb and did leave until Sunday evening. I didn’t take any pictures at the concert because my phone was dying but just to break it down for you: Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, Salt and Pepa, Brandy, Xscape, and Mary J. Blige all had really awesome performances. Without further ado, let’s get to the photos.

Food:

 

Day Activities : click arrow for next picture in slideshow

 

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Art:

 

Let me just say that the food in New Orleans never disappoints. Definitely, a must visit place if you’re ever in the Gulf Coast area of the U.SA. And yes I do believe in magic….New Orleans magic 🙂 ❤

5 hair tips that really work!

1. Conditioning. There’s a lot of different conditioning types. Regular, deep and protein are the three main ones. Regular conditioning is basically what you do when you use a normal hair conditioner that is usually paired with a shampoo. You should ALWAYS condition after shampooing your hair to restore moisture as shampoos can be really drying (especially those with sulfates). In addition, you should either use a deep conditioner or protein treatment at least twice a week. I just recently started using a protein treatment and it really does work. My hair is significantly softer for the rest of the week when I do a protein treatment. I would guess this is because protein treatments strengthen the hair strand.
2. Trimming. I’ve never anyone that likes to have their hair trimmed as most of us are after “long hair, don’t care” goals. To be honest, I only get my hair trimmed once a year as opposed to the recommended 3 to 4 times per year. This is mainly due to distrust of hair stylists that get scissor happy when you don’t really need that much hair cut off. There are some youtube videos on how to self-trim and I might start doing that (the most important tip for self-trimming is to have the right scissors which are known as shears. Normal scissors aren’t as sharp as shears so they don’t allow for a clean cut ( this can lead to even worse split ends).
3. Protective styling. I last trimmed my hair last September and since then my hair grew about 3 inches which is actually pretty good for me. I mainly attribute this growth to protective styling as my hair was usually in cornrows. I’ve done micro-braids quite a lot in the past and I attribute this to my lack of hair growth in those years. Micro-braids led to breakage and dryness of my hair so I have completely abandoned that style now. I also have never colored my hair or done a lot of heat styling. I only get my hair straightened once or twice per year. I usually schedule my trims around that time because it seems easier to trim straight hair versus curly hair.
4. Scalp care. I think most people forget that the scalp is just as important as the hair itself. Even if you only wash your hair once a week, you should still clean your scalp as needed. I keep a spray bottle that has shampoo and water in it so I can keep my scalp fresh throughout the week. This could be due to sweat or product build-up which can clog your hair follicles. Clogged follicles can lead to less hair growth so look out for that.
5. Proper tools. Finally, you can have the best hair but you can still damage your hair if you don’t use the right tools. Never use a skinny comb for curly hair unless your hair is straight or stretched. The best comb for curly hair is a wide-toothed comb and this can be used for detangling as well as styling. If you are looking for a detangling brush for curly hair, use one that has large bristles instead of small ones. I personally use the Denman D3 brush which is kind of expensive but totally worth it. It easily glides between my curls and doesn’t snag unless I have a knot in my hair. For hair knots, the best tool to use can be your fingers as you can easily unravel the knot instead of pulling on it with a comb or brush. There are also people who regularly use their fingers for detangling and that works for them.
The main point is to learn what works best for your hair.

I hope this helps. If you have any additional tips, please feel free to share. 🙂 ❤

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 reasons why I love the South

Beach with kayla
Beach with Kayla, June 2018
  1. We have great beaches here. Hello Gulf coast of Mexico! Despite BP trying to ruin our shine with an oil spill, we cleaned that up and our water is pretty clean in most places. Also our beaches are sandy not rocky like beaches in other places. We’re not California but we still have some pretty great waves for surfing plus our water is pretty warm in the summer.
  2.  Food like cheesy grits, corn bread, and spicy crawfish! I’ve never seen people eating crawfish anywhere else but in the south. And I am not sure I would even want to because other places butcher southern food. This brings me to my next point: Iced tea.
  3. I’ve had Iced tea up north and it tastes like the person who made it doesn’t know love. Because why else would you make sweet Iced tea that isn’t actually sweet. To anyone reading this that makes Iced tea the northern way (putting sugar after the tea is cooked, stop!). Sweet Iced tea becomes sweet by putting sugar when the tea is boiling so the sugar can actually melt! It’s not rocket science by any means.
  4. Most people are actually sweet just like our tea. People in the neighborhood will actually say hello to you without even knowing you. Older people also love using the words “sweetheart” and “baby” to refer to younger people. Obviously there are also people who might be racist but to be honest those people are everywhere, not just in the south.
  5. The easy going vibe as we don’t like to rush people. Up north, the New York minute is said to be 50 seconds. In that case, the southern minute is probably a good 120 seconds. Cause best believe you’re not going to walk up into a counter and be rude to the attendant. Most southern people are raised better than that which you can tell by the way refer to their elders as m’am and sir.

If you are southerner, please share what you love most about the south.   If you’re not, please make it a point to visit this land of fried chicken and collard greens one day! 🙂 ❤

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/

The duality of human existence: more than just black and white

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 1.18.45 PM
May 2018

In the event of Kanye West saying “slavery was a choice” and people we looked up to such as Morgan Freeman being accused of sexual harassment, we have to acknowledge the duality of human existence. A person can be a great musician, actor, co-worker etc but still be a less than perfect human. When we revere people to the extent of unrealistic adoration, we are bound to be disappointed because no one can ever live up to such expectations.

In the words of Tupac, “ a role is something people play and a model is something people make. Both of those things are fake.” I think it’s okay to have a role model for a specific facet of their life but not for their entire being. For example, we can admire Michael Jackson for his work ethic but not for his other life choices. We can admire Kevin Hart for his humor but not for his infidelity. When we realize that people are more complex than what we see with our eyes, we allow them to make their choices and have their peace.

I was watching an interview of Keke Palmer on the Breakfast Club radio show. Let me just say Keke is able to dissect being human so well for a person who is just 24 years old. In the interview, she discusses going through depression and growing up in the limelight. Her most interesting discussion for me is when she recalls the first time that her parents fell short of her expectations. She wasn’t trying to throw her parents under the bus. She was simply making the point that everyone is bound to disappoint us at one point or another. However, the greatest disappointment is when our parents first let us down. It’s not until that we are adults that we are realize that our parents are just human and were trying to do their best when raising us.

So to drive the point home, It’s important to recognize the complexity of human nature. It’s important not to harbor hate or judgment towards someone because of his or her life decisions. Everyone is going through life without a road map just like you. Nobody is perfect, including you, so don’t expect perfection (even from yourself). This post feels like a TED talk or therapy session, I’ve been avoiding writing this one for a while but I am glad that it finally came together in my head.

As always, thanks for reading. 🙂  ❤

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

5 things my niece has taught me about motherhood

Mwende drawing
My niece and I , February 2018
  1. Children know how to read vibes. This is especially true about my niece who doesn’t allow just anyone to hold her. She has to get to know you first and see you around several times before becoming comfortable around you.
  2. True happiness is seeing a child squeal with excitement upon you walking through the door. My niece and I sometimes do this squealing match where I make a sound and she matches it with the same or even more excitement.
  3. Seeing a child sick is the most saddening thing to watch. Whether the child is coughing or high with fever, you just hope that what you do is enough to make her feel better. This is especially true when the child is not old enough to talk to communicate how she feels.
  4. When you fall down in life, clean yourself up and get back up again. My niece rounds around all day and falls on the ground at least once a day. Even if she cries, she’ll still be up and running within a few minutes. I hope she keeps this same energy throughout the years.
  5. Love is the greatest thing you could ever give someone. Throughout her few years of life, I am given my niece several gifts but i’ve noticed that the gift she enjoys the most is my presence. When I don’t see her for a while, I feel guilty. When I leave her without spending a lot of time with her, I can somehow see disappointment in her eyes. So now I make it a point to see her at least three times a week since she lives so close to me.