Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Domestic Violence is beyond Single Vs Married

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Earlier this morning, my Buzz timeline showed one of my media sites' report on the man who killed and dismembered his wife of 2 years. It was so upsetting for me that I tweeted a bit about it about how it seemed that some things were changing for the worse in Naija these days.

During my rounds, I found that Kemi of Till my Dying Day blogged of the shocking news in a post titled In Defense of....
Someone somewhere wrote about this story and understandably tied the tragedy in with "marriage people". I understand the intention and stemming from reports that this particular marriage had had a history of violence and physical abuse, I get it. Nonetheless, my reaction is to say wait a minute, not all marriage is bad.

She goes on to defend marriage, and from what she wrote, I get her stand, and even support it to some extent. However, I think it is such defense that will keep the lines drawn between us women. IMHO, the "We against Them" mentality is not very helpful. My thoughts -

Is there a societal pressure in Nigeria to get and stay married? Yes. Is it ONLY in Nigeria? No.

Was there a history of DV in this case? Yes. Are we CERTAIN marital abuse lead to this death? No.

Does DV happen in marriages? Yes. Does it happen ONLY in marriages? No.

Domestic Violence is not about marriage because unmarried people have been attacked and killed in domestic situations. And while it disproportionately affects women, it's also not about gender because men have been victims of DV.

I believe DV is about power and anger management. So whether one is married or single, male or female, they have to be self-aware and protect themselves. If you find yourself in long heated arguments with loved ones and family (even colleagues), please walk away. Don't be a victor, don't be a victim. You could be finished (in jail or psych ward) or you could be dead. There is no winner.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to get more comments for your blog - 2

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You can read the first part HERE where I list the first rule as leaving comments on other people's blogs. Making your posts interesting,  ensuring your comment system works, and removing the word verification will also go a long way. More things you could do include;

Respond to your own comments. Blogger makes this a bit hard for us but I think it's only polite, especially when someone asks you a question. I personally go back when I've asked a question on a blog to check if the blogger responded and I try to do it on my blog. In fact, I put in comment moderation on my older posts so I can check and respond if necessary. Ginger asked about comments on old posts on her blog, and I have to say I find them extra interesting.

Cut your posts short. I'm still learning on this one. Being the novel writer I am, please forgive any lapses if I tend to go on and on, lol. But hey, when I start sharing my new WIP, I won't apologize o so be warned. Some use the long post alert at the beginning of their posts and that can be helpful.  I then know to come back for it depending on whether the topic seems interesting or not.

Put a question of the day. This is like a call to action, and most of us respond very instinctively. The question should be related and summarize your post for those who are in a hurry, like me when I'm on my blog rounds. They also help the reader to gather their thoughts as they start to comment.

Make rules for Blogfests/ Memes/ Giveaways less difficult. I may have been a victim of these since I do a lot of such posts. The truth is that as much as we love blogging and giveaways, it can become a chore. Like when a blogger asks you to leave a FB status, tweet, write a blog, and then bring ten people to follow them and comment on their giveaway post, all for a $5 Amazon card. Hello? LOL...the easiest giveaway rule is to ask those interested to leave a comment. H of His and Her once had a giveaway of my books with some very long strings attached, even me I fear.

Put some commentary on your picture posts. I learnt this the hard way. I love taking pictures and I decided to share them with my blog readers over the weekends. I had to review this when I observed that while traffic did not drop, I was getting less than 10 comments on the posts. Interestingly, things improved when I added some commentary, either at the beginning, the end, or in between for each picture. Nikkisho latest FOTD comes to mind on this point.

And so we come to the end of today's post. Not too long I hope? Do you have any other pointers?

ps, to H and Nikkisho, not calling you girls out o. You know I still gbadu your blogs, right?
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Michelle Obama in South Africa - A woman after my heart.

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Question: What do you think of women who quit their jobs for their husbands and families?

Sometime in April, I wrote a blog about how I consider myself a role model, and how I also like to acknowledge those that motivate me. One of those women is Michelle Obama.

I was earlier conflicted in 2008 when I first got to know about the Obamas and found out she reluctantly cut back on her job to follow her husband on the campaign trail. I emphasize reluctantly because I believe in a woman freely making their choices for a career, a marriage, children or all of them, and giving their all to whatever they choose. Well, when Obama won the presidency, she quit the job, softened her image to suit popular opinion, and made me go huh?!

But I have to give it to her now. She has since hit her stride, and each day, my admiration of her mounts. She supports the politics that interest her (like Pay Equity for women), and has followed her other passions (like the Let's Move campaign against childhood obesity). She is not superwoman, she does not run the world, but IMO she rules her world. Grace Machal said, "She is a feminist by practice, without shouting slogans." and I concur. Most importantly, she wants to affect/change lives and thereby leave a legacy.

Keep shining the light Michelle.

Taking joy in what she does, and carrying her children along too so they can learn by example.


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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Atala Writes - Notes from the Road Trip (2)

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Happy weekend everyone, hope the work days went well? Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion on Immigration, I appreciated all the different viewpoints. And now Atala's notes continue, please read the first part HERE and leave comments o! LOL...


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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pulitzer Winner is an Illegal Alien - My thoughts

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I've had the immigration debate with several people over the years, and when I found I was falling in love with an immigrant into the US, I had to make sure we were on the same page. This was because of the distortion of psyche Jose Antonio Vargas explains below, and one I never wanted to find in myself.

My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant - NYTimes.com - Jose Antonio Vargas

"It was an odd sort of dance: I was trying to stand out in a highly competitive newsroom, yet I was terrified that if I stood out too much, I’d invite unwanted scrutiny. I tried to compartmentalize my fears, distract myself by reporting on the lives of other people, but there was no escaping the central conflict in my life. Maintaining a deception for so long distorts your sense of self. You start wondering who you’ve become, and why."

I feel some sympathy for Vargas, and for some others who immigrated as children and had no control over their parents' or guardians' choices to move without papers. However, my instinct is that as an adult, they should make that effort to return to their original country and then if necessary, find a way back to the country where they want to be.

For those who are already adults and choose to leave their country and settle in another without the required documentation that grants you permanent residency or citizenship, I do wonder, what are they thinking?

As someone who has lived as an immigrant in both the UK and the US, I have come across many Nigerians who are illegals, call it undocumented or what have you. The truth is that by making that choice to overstay a tourist visa, student visa, or expired H1B, you're putting yourself in a position where you can't help but lie to get by. You lie to get social security, lie to get a license, lie to get into school, lie to get a job. Lie, lie, lie, how can they bear it?

And say you're a single woman, or man, you may even find yourself lying in your personal relationships, you may get married on a lie (Green card marriage), and what if you end up married to a fellow illegal - which happens often - what about your illegal-born American children? Do people realize it's no more automatic, and the children could get deported along with them too if they're caught? Some states in America are in the process of setting up laws to discriminate against illegals in such a way that it even affects their legal children, especially when it comes to food stamps and other government benefits. But do I really blame them?

And here I come to the weightiest part for me personally. My number one life motto is FREEDOM. Inside and out. Vargas had an apparent freedom, but in his head he was in prison. He could not travel out of the US, and had not seen his family in the Philippines for almost 20 years. What kind of life is that? For me, I want to do whatever I like with my life, go wherever I want, and live wherever I want.

Most of all, I want to be free to achieve whatever I can. It breaks my heart to see talented and skilled people waste themselves in under-the-table jobs just because they're illegals in a country. I wish more people will realize how important it is to maximize your life, both for your own sake and for that of whatever country you happen to live in.

What are your thoughts on this matter? If you'll prefer to drop comments as Anonymous, I've turned it on specifically for this.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Atala Writes - Notes from the Road Trip (1)

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Did I tell you guys that Atala wanted to share some notes about our trip? This is not a narrative, just short bytes that stuck with him. Enjoy...

- We left Seattle on Saturday morning around 8am and what a difference mountains make. As soon as we crossed the Cascades, it was goodbye woodland and wetness... hello scrub and sunshine. The reduced vegetation enabled us to see the wide blue sky touch the horizon, and at first, my reaction was 'wow'! But after a while, I began to miss the clouds in the sky, especially because the further south we went, the hotter it became.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Videos - Charismatic girl deciphered.

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So the MBGN contest is coming up in a few days and the organizers are really utilizing the social media to get the word out. I made a comment on one of the first blogs about the video immediately below where the girls/applicants make the case for why viewers should vote for them. I'm guessing these days judges votes are combined with votes via phone and SMS. Watch the video first...



So I asked on the blog, is it that these are ALL the girls that applied, and the organizers had no choice but to pick them all. Because they spanned the spectrum from some manageable girls to the complete disasters, and I was thinking it was impossible to have selected these finalists form a pool that included worse applicants. I spoke too soon, check the video below...


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Monday, June 20, 2011

Romance on a Road Trip - Salt Lake City, Utah

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Hello people, welcome to another week. I want to use this opportunity to welcome all my new followers and commenters. I'm still catching up after our vacation, and if I haven't visited, followed or commented on your blog recently, please let me know in the comments. Now to today's post from one of our stops - Salt Lake City.

Well, you all know I'm a champion for public displays of affection, where I might disagree is with those who want to climb into each other's throats as a definition of affection. If you wanna get sexual, find a room already, lol. Anyway, something happened during our trip and I couldn't help falling in love all over again.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Picture Weekend - Romance on a Road Trip (1)

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So you guys know I'm all for public displays of affection, where I might disagree with those who want to climb into each other's throat is the definition of affection. If you wanna get sexual, find a room already, lol. Anyway, something happened during our trip and I couldn't help falling in love all over again.

So we got to Salt Lake City in the evening after a long drive, and I was happy to check in to our hotel and freshen up. Though the clock said 6pm, the sun was so high in the sky and HOT! We decided to relax and wait for it to cool a bit. Not wanting to while away the city, we made plans to hit it for a movie and dinner out.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sunshine Award

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So a few days ago, Rhapsody Phoenix, of Rapping on a Melody gifted me with the Sunshine Award pictured above. This is what she had to say about it, "Please keep the blessing going by gifting 10 people with the award letting them know their contribution to bloggersville is appreciated and what they have to say matters." Thank you Rhapsody.

So because I've got double portion sunshine, I'll be passing it on to the following 20 people who always bring sunshine into my life with their blogs, comments, and actions - online and offline. They never fail. Thank you all...


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions - I want to be a published author

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Dear,

Congrats on your anniversary, it actually looks like I've been reading Myne Whitman for like 3 years,

I have been meaning to ask, how do I go about being/learning to be an author, its not like I consider myself much of a good writer, but good or not, I have some little things I write every now and then and I dream of publishing them someday.

I don't want to keep thinking about it all on my own, just said to ask some more established writers like you people.

I work as an Engineer, I speak more with figures and drawings, so English sef na difficult thing. but writing as always been a dream.......you want to help me start off?


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Notice me or I die! How to get your blog noticed

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I'm beginning to slack a bit, but after a week on the road, I think I can forgive myself. I was supposed to do a massive blog round yesterday but I had so much mail requiring replies plus some other stuff and I ended up making comments in only a few places. And this brings me to today's topic. Within my first months of blogging, almost everyone knew who Myne Whitman was, and what her blog was all about. It helped that I had 'Writes' in my title, but there were other factors too. What are they?

I was everywhere.

Yes indeed. Some may call it lack of job but for me then, and now still, it is my job. I don't make a living from it yet, but we could get there. And I'll reiterate what I've mentioned before, blogging is not a competition. You decide how big you want your blog, how much you want to be noticed, if at all, and then take it from there. I started out wanting to get traditionally published so I wanted to get widely noticed in order to get an agent or publisher. Along the line, I decided to publish myself and being noticed became even more important to sell my books.

So how did I do it? I followed a lot of blogs. To be honest, even when there's no selling involved, your blog can be seen a product because you want to share your ideas and your opinions, and maybe get other people's point of view on the things you may be going through and the stuff that matter to you. Unless you want to be speaking to a vacuum, (and I do know that most bloggers want some form of attention), you need to have your blog noticed. Go out there and follow more blogs. How do you find them, you ask? It depends on the community you want your blog to fit into.

Remember this article on Finding your Blog Niche? Depending on your title, description and the type of posts you plan, that kind of tells you what community to target. If your blog is basically Nigeria-themed, find a blog directory for that like the NBA - Nigerian Blog Awards. Others include Bookblogs - bloggers about reading and reviewing books, Shewrites - for women writers and authors, SitsGirls - mostly female bloggers, moms or nay, IAN - independent authors network, and more. The easiest way of course is to follow the people who follow your blog, and those that make comments as well as tapping from the blog list of the blogs you already follow. If you look on the lower left sidebar, you will see my media sites, and blogs I visit.

Another way to get attention and draw traffic to your blog is by being on the social media networks and commenting on websites that are related to your blog. Social media include Facebook and Twitter, and if you haven't already, sign on to them immediately. Make sure that the name you use corresponds to your blog. If you already have your real name accounts, but you don't want them connected to your anonymous blog, then open new accounts with your blog name. I joined FB and Twitter with my real name before I started blogging, but after Myne Whitman took over, I simply changed the name. And that is very important, you have to be consistent across these platforms or people will be confused.

Messageboards and Forums also come in useful here, as well as related websites. I have a presence on Nairaland, Naijastories.com (OK, I'm the founder of this one), Nigeriavillagesquare, CoffeeTime Romance, The Romance Reviews, among others. I make sure to regularly make comments on these forums and interact with their members. You don't have to spam the sites as most of them have a feature for you to have link to your blog in your signature. Others that are wordpress-based will link your name/comment directly to a website you provide. For the Nigerian blogs, other websites include Lindaikeji's blog and BellaNaija.com.

In the next blog tips post, I will share more on other ways to get noticed. Stay tuned...
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Guest Author - Abigail George: Africa Where art Thou?

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Today's guest author is a friend on Facebook and a poet. Her new collection of poems has just been published to really fantastic reviews from all across Africa and the world and she has agreed to answer some questions for me. Her replies exhibit the spirit of a true poet and contains some great nuggets for us all especially aspiring and upcoming authors. Enjoy...


Abigail George asks questions of the continent she loves. Her collection is peopled with the impoverished and marginalised: 'vacant grown-ups, beggars, orphans and vagrants'. It includes tributes to jazz pianist Moses Molelekwa, photographers Ken Oosterbroek and Kevin Carter and to anti-apartheid activist, Dulcie September. George's voice is one of conscience and compassion.

MICHELLE MCGRANE, author of Fireflies and Blazing Stars, Hybrid and A Suitable Girl, South Africa

Abigail George’s poetry etches the intricacies of the homestead with expert hands; she effortlessly merges the mundane with the modern, and captures the lowest of depths and the highest of peaks in everything life and South Africa. Her ink flows through the stench of trenches, just as it captures the crisp air of the breathtaking landscapes of her homeland. As a unique chronicler of the past and present, George is a voice that will erupt through the rock solid density of both pre and post apartheid South Africa.

UNOMA AZUAH, Poetry Editor: Sentinelnigeria.org


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Saturday, June 11, 2011

What happens in Vegas...

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Stays in Las Vegas. Are my lips sealed? LOL...


Left the city of a million lights and now making our way gradually home. What an eye opener it was in Vegas, man. My camera battery finally gave out after I took so many pictures. The strip is amazing, ludicrous, awesome, ridiculous, astonishing, and tacky all at once. And that's all I'm going to say. More pictures may come, or not. We'll see. Have a great weekend all, mwah!


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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Road Trip - Oregon and Idaho

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Hi peeps, I'm not gonna be able to write much. We just arrived in Las Vegas and I was able to upload these pics. Atala has said that when we come back, he'll be sharing some snippets and observations of our experience here on the blog. In the meantime, enjoy these pics...



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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Nigerian Blog Awards

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Hi everyone, I'm missing you o, but make I no lie, I'm enjoying the road trip and the break from doing my blog rounds. :) Most of the posts you've been seeing were scheduled but this I'm making right now.

I got emails from some blogger friends asking me to nominate them for the blog awards and since our hotel has free wifi, I decided to do just that. I've always been a fan of what Good Naija Girl and some other volunteer bloggers do for the NBA and how it brings the Nigerian bloggers together and motivates us all. And I can't forget that you guys did me the honor of nominating and voting me last year as the best Nigerian blog; among others.


Well, it's that time of the year again. Let's show the awards and each other some love. It's time to nominate your best blogs and you have until June 17 for this phase. It was tough choice having to do it myself but for the sake of the bloggers that finally got my nominations, I'm glad I did. Below are the rules:
Visit the Nominations page.
Fill in your name and email address. Please use a valid email address or your nomination will not be counted.
Put the website addresses (urls) of the blogs you are nominating, making sure that the nominated blog fits the category it is being nominated for. Blogs nominated for categories they do not qualify for will be removed.
When you’ve put a blog address in each of the categories you’d like to nominate a blog for, click the “Submit” button at the bottom left corner of the page. You will be directed to check the email address you used to register your nominations for a confirmation email.
Open the email from nigerianblogawards and click on the link in the email. This will cause your nominations to be registered.
And yeah, I tagged this as Blogging Tips cos being nominated for, and winning the awards last year definitely got me more traffic and raised my profile. Based on the number of people who read my blog daily, this post is also an opportunity for those interested to call for people to nominate them in the comments. All the best to everyone.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Nigerian First Lady, Patience Jonathan: What a Makeover!

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I think I'm in love with the new look of our First Lady. Could this just be the effect of a smile?


For a woman who is best known for the picture immediately below, the ones that follow are amazing! Either she's lost some weight, or her photographer has awesome technical and photoshop skills. And massive props to the make-up and stylists too.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blogging Basics for the Beginning Writer - Raquel Byrnes (Guest Author)

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My guest author for today is Raquel Byrnes, a blogger, writer and published author of Purple Knot - released June 3 by White Rose Publishing. Continuing in my Blogging Series, Raquel has agreed to share tips for beginner writers who also blog. Raquel has been blogging since 2009 and her debut novel,As an author who also started off blogging, I totally agree with the points that Raquel shares. She also reiterate some of the tips I shared under finding your blog niche, this is expecially important for would be authors. Well, let's hear first about the newly minted author...


Raquel Byrnes lives in Southern, California with her husband of sixteen years and their six children. She considers inspirational fiction a wonderful way to minister to others. She writes romantic suspense with an edge-your-seat pace. Her debut is the first book of the Shades of Hope Series, and was released on June 3rd from White Rose Publishing. You can visit her at her website: www.raquelbyrnes.com and her writing blog, Edge of Your Seat Romance. Her book is already available on Amazon, and you can buy by clicking on the image to the left.


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Friday, June 3, 2011

I want more Comments!

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No, not me, you. Don't you want more comments on your blog? LOL...

OK, let me make this clear about this series on blogging tips and trips, I'm no expert. I've only been blogging for less than 2 years so what I'm sharing is just from the little I know. I'm also not a professional blogger by any means, only a writer building a platform and so my tips may be biased toward branding and building networks. On that note, two quick links;

- Darbie won an eBook of A Love Rekindled from the Lost and Found Blogfest and reviews it 10 out of 10.

- Raquel Byrnes novel Purple Knot releases today and you can get a copy from White Rose Publishing.

Now to today's post, how do you get people talking after a post? I am an equal opportunity commenter if I do say say myself, and while I try to leave genuine and pertinent comments, there are those posts that make me go yummm...On those posts, I could type a whole post as a comment if I had all the time in the world. What are the common things I've discovered about those posts, or in some cases, those blogs, and what can you do?

1. I am sure we all know the very first rule? Leave comments on other blogs! LOL...I cannot repeat this enough. Personally I go around lots of blogs even on days time is too short to leave loads of comments. So how do I choose the posts I end up dropping comments on, or those that get comprehensive and personal comments? It is on those blogs and for the bloggers who I've noted as leaving similar and regular comments on my blog. My advice is leave comments, and make the comments count. Try to read the blog, if that is your first time, scan a couple or more posts, read the ABOUT ME profile, and then drop a note.

2. Write interesting posts: These are posts that address issues that touch me in one way or another. It could be that they're talking about a hot button issue, or it could just be a journal entry that shows it was written for the heart. Examples includes posts that provide information I haven't heard before, that tackle an issue from an angle I had not personally considered before, or uses some funny graphics to spike the personality of the post, making it impossible for me NOT to comment.

3. Remove your word verification: This is connected to the whole blog this time and not to individual posts. I seem to have a sort of dyslexia when it comes to the captchas required for comment verification, and it may take me up to two or three tries to get it right. I avoid the blogs I know that have captchas so as to save time when my blog round ration is limited. The worse cases are where the captcha does not show immediately until the click post comment. What happens is that I click comment and X out not knowing the verification is not finished, thereby losing my whole comment. I tell you, such an experience doesn't encourage me to comment often on that same blog.

4. Check out your comment system: Please please, please, make sure your comment system is working. Sometimes, using the word verification throws the comment box out of whack. Check it yourself by leaving a comment as Anonymous or name and URL instead of your Google account. There are blogs where I can't leave a comment if my name depended on it because the system is whacked. Also make sure the link to leave a comment is in a place people see easily. It should either be under the heading of the post, or directly under it. Please don't make me have to click something first before I can find your comment link or box. Thanks!

There are a few more points but I'll leave them for the next post. For now, it is tadaa! Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Next time you see me here or on your blogs, we'll be on our road trip. Idaho here I come...
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tag - What is in my Bag?

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So I was among those tagged by Sisi Yemmie to do this meme where I have to show you all my regular bag, and what I usually have inside it.


So I use two bags interchangeably but this meduim sized black and brown print Nine West gets more action cos it doesn't select clothes. LOL...I can't remember if I said that correctly. Anyway, you have seen the other bag I carry if you read my post on Relationship 15. Now to the contents of the bag. True confession, I like a chunky bag and always stuff things in :).


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