5 things I learned from Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

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I want to start by saying that every autobiography of a successful person always emphasizes the value of hard work. I think it is somewhat implied in this summary especially in my first thing that I learned from Shonda Rhimes book, Year of Yes. So let’s dive right in.

  1. Check yourself. Recognize what is holding you back in life. Are you comfortable in your unhealthy lifestyle where you put work first and yourself last? Do you not spend enough time with your family? Are you in unhealthy relationships just because you are afraid of being alone? Shonda shares that she was pretty antisocial and was more comfortable working with her imaginary characters, with her favorite being Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy. It wasn’t until her older sister told her that she is afraid to say yes to things that she decided to dedicate a whole year to saying Yes. Throughout that year, she grew as a mother, friend, work mate, and most importantly as an individual.
  2. Learn how to say NO. Essentially, say Yes to saying No. Before her Year of Yes, Shonda admits to finding it difficult to saying no to people. When people realize you don’t know how to say no, they start to take advantage of you. For example, think about the person that takes on extra work because everybody knows that he/she won’t say no. Don’t be that person. Learn how to set boundaries or you will find yourself drowning and the person responsible for the drowning will be you. I’ll end this with one of my favorite quotes: Don’t set yourself on fire trying to keep others warm- Penny Reid.
  3. Know yourself and never compromise who you are for anyone. I do not want to ruin the book for anyone but I think it is common language that Shonda has not birthed any children. However, she does have 3 children. Like Oprah, she doesn’t really believe in marriage. Despite societal norms, she has come to accept that she doesn’t need a man in the picture to have kids or even to raise them. I am personally very option to adoption of children so I was glad to read about a woman who shares similar unconventional values.
  4. Know what love means to you, including self-love. Yes, we should all love our bodies but what if we are in an unhealthy state? Should we not love our bodies enough to treat them as much care as we can. Shouldn’t we understand our unhealthy coping habits like eating lots of ice cream or drinking excessively, etc. Yes, I think a little bit of tough love can be self-love (like saying no to that extra piece of cake when our bodies are screaming yes). If somebody didn’t treat you right, you are quick to think they probably don’t love you. So when we are quick to trash our body, then we should recognize that we are not practicing self-love.
  5. Find your gladiators and love the hell out of them. Your gladiators are the people that fight for you, root for you, and also put you in check when needed. They want nothing but the best for you. They do not limit you to who you are now. They see the best possible version of yourself and push you to strive for that. They know your weaknesses and strengths yet they want you to face your fears. And if you are their gladiator, then you do the same. Be their Olivia Pope, without the being mistress to the president part.

Thank you for reading. May you say yes to the things that scare you. May the year of yes transform into a lifestyle as it did for Shonda Rhimes, the queen of Thursday night television with Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal under her belt. 🙂 ❤

5 things I learned from reading Kevin Hart’s “I can’t make this up”

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August 2018, Fairhope

I would like to start by saying that if you have access to a good public library, then save your coins and your house from book clutter by borrowing books from the library. It supports your local community and maybe reduces your carbon footprint. Either way, reading is good for you because as we feed our bodies, we must also feed our minds. And if you ever want to really laugh, just read a book written by a comedian. I recently read Kevin Hart’s I can’t make this up which is a book with many little chapters and a lot of life lessons. Here are the top 5 lessons I learned from the book:

  1. If you’re going to hustle, hustle hard! A lot of people think that Kevin Hart is an overnight success but once you read the book you realize that his success climaxed after about 15 to 18 years of grinding. He toured a lot of small comedy clubs all over the US several times before being able to sell out basketball arenas.
  2. Life is an ebb and flow of ups and downs. Before becoming a household name, he had a few breaks such as being cast in movies like Soul Plane and Fool’s Gold which actually flopped at the box office. When Kevin Hart got cast in these movies he thought they were going to be his big breaks but for reasons beyond his control, it didn’t work out that way. However, he credits such experiences for humbling him and teaching him not to be overexcited about projects because you’re never know how they’re going to turn out.
  3. You can’t force a relationship to work. Kevin grew up with separated parents and he himself is now divorced from his first wife. His relationship with his wife had a lot of trust issues even in the dating face and for some reason they both thought marriage would make things better due to vows. However, they were both unhappy in the marriage and it took both of them a long time to realize that they would be happier apart from each either. The main thing Kevin worried about in divorcing his wife was whether it was the right move for his two kids. However, after a bit of separation, he realized that exposing his kids to a dysfunctional marriage would probably lead them to fall into the same cycle later.
  4. Stay positive and check yourself. We all have flaws and usually, they are our biggest obstacle to achieving success. If your work ethic isn’t there, then you’re not going to go far. If you have an addiction (which Kevin Hart admits to having alcohol binging and gambling problems), then you need to seek help. If you have bad spending habits, then you’ll never have a great net worth despite how much money you make. So analyze yourself and try to understand your flaws so you can eventually overcome them. Also, staying positive will give you a lot of peace.
  5. Teamwork makes the dream work. A lot of people (including myself before reading this book) don’t know that Kevin has a well-sized team that is mainly composed of his friends. One of his friends helps him write jokes, another helps with traveling logistics, another was opening his comedy shows for him, another was helping with organizing after parties for his shows, and then, of course, he had his comedy manager. Maybe, in the beginning, you can do it alone but as the African proverb states “if you want to go far, go together”.

I hope you pick up a book, whether today, tomorrow or later this month. Happy reading 🙂 ❤

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! 🙂 ❤

5 reasons why travel is so important

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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). 🙂 ❤

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

 

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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

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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

 

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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. 🙂 ❤

Taking Stock – April 2018

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March 2018

This lip liner by P.S. in the color wine goes with me everywhere  I go and I imagine it will be a part of my makeup collection for the rest of my life. It’s been a while since my last “taking stock” ; So here goes another one.

Making: my room more of what I’ve always wanted. My new bedroom set comes with two 6 drawer dressers and a leather headboard on the bed. I’ve never really put a lot of effort into decorating my bedroom before so I think it’s about time to do so since eventually I might have to decorate a home (cue Drake’s God’s plan). 

Eating: Just ate some tacos for lunch as fuel for the preparation of Easter dinner with the family. I was actually impressed by the tacos at Moe’s Southwest Grill (fun fact: my older brother actually used to work there in high school).

Drinking: water. I try to drink at least a liter of water everyday so that’s my beverage of choice 99% of the time. It’s good for your skin and helps with digestion so get on that H20

Reading: a business book that my brother lent me called The Compounding Effect by Darren Hardy.

Playing: God’s plan by Drake as well as The Weeknd’s new album. I am also a fanatic for soundcloud afrobeats mixes especially for workout music. 

Creating: memories with family as always. My niece just started walking last month and watching her grow is still a blessing each and every day.

Wishing: that everyone has a happy and safe Easter holiday.

Enjoying: working evening shift. Any one who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. At my new job I was hired to be evening shift but I had to be training on morning shift.  The transition to evening shift has been wonderful for me and my sleep in lifestyle.

Liking: This gel nailpolish I bought. I am not allowed to have manicured hands at work since I have to make intravenous fluids from time to time and nail polish harbors bacteria. However, I am able to have pedicured feet so I bought nail polish for that purpose.

Wondering: when I should schedule my next massage. I have a monthly massage membership since I have a bad back and so far it has been money well spent. Massages have other benefits like decreasing stress and anxiety so definitely consider including it in your life.

Loving: new shoes that I bought from Public Desire (an online store based in the UK) and some from lolashoetique (based in California). If you like platform heeled shoes, UK stores are definitely the place to buy them (yes these shoes are like 5 inches tall but very comfortable).

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Hoping: that I will get to travel some for vacation by the end of the year, both locally and internationally.

Marvelling: at how fast this year is flying by. 2018 has been good to me so far. I hope the blessings may continue.

Wearing: a dress that my sister-in-law gave me. I love dresses that don’t require ironing and this is one of them so I am happy to have it.

Noticing: that there’s something powerful about writing stuff down. I’ve journaled quite a bit this year and it’s like therapy to me so I plan to maintain that practice.

Knowing: that there’s always a bigger plan. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Furthermore, Wins and losses are all part of the journey. You can’t always win and you won’t always lose so don’t stress too hard about life.

Thinking: that we should cherish people when they’re with us as being together forever is not always guaranteed. Whether those people are work mates, friends, family, or even teachers, we should make it our duty to be our best selves for each other and especially for our own selves.

Feeling: liberated that I am right where I want to be right now in my life. At peace and truly grateful.   Thank you for reading. 🙂 ❤ 

Happiness in marriage ft Will Smith

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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?

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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 🙂 ❤