Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Favorite Reads Giveaway Hop

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AND THE WINNER IS ATOKE!

For this giveaway, I'll be turning it over to you and asking what your favorite reads are so far this year. The winner will receive a book of their choice up to $5 (including shipping) via Amazon or Book Depository. Entries close on June 6, and I'll announce the randomly selected winner within 48hrs and also send them an email.


To enter, leave a comment on this post in answer to the question, What's the best book you've read so far this year? Also include your email address unless I can contact you via your profile. Goodluck.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lesson for Wives - How to be Submissive

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I'm not going to say much as I believe the picture speaks loudly enough. Are you a woman, married, about to get married, or single? Have you been wondering how you can be submissive to your husband? Wonder no more! Just get under him, or should I say, allow him to sit on you. Beginning from your wedding day, of course!

 This is how to be submissive

I'm sure the witty readers will be able to caption this more aptly.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Time Out - My Memorial Day Weekend in Pictures

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With Monday being a work-free day for Memorial Day, it was a proper TGIF and a long weekend for us and we used it to unwind.

- On Saturday, we went to a friend's for a small get-together with great food, drinks, and very interesting company.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Dear Myne, He Lost Interest in me since getting on Facebook

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Hi Myne, we've been married for going on two years now and most things have been ok. i mean we quarell sometimes like a normal couple but we have a way to soon get back again. but recently, my husband joined facebook and things have not been the same anymore. it's like he spends all his free time on there and completely neglects me.


i blame myself now because i was the one already on facebook and i asked him to join soon after we got married. back then, he rarely updates his page, but now, he's online all the time. he's also on nairaland but am more worried about facebook because it's like he's chatting to someone there.

for more than three months now, he has showed no interest in having sex with me, and i had to initiate the two times we made love since then. we don't talk like we used to talk before all this. when i try to talk to him or engage him in a conversation, he only makes some noises. if he doesn't say hmm, he replies ok or true, true. all the time he's saying this, he is typing on facebook or nairaland. am sure he's not really listening to me.

for the last two weeks, he now sleeps in our living room, and when i wake up early as four in the morning, he's still awake chatting. the straw that broke the camels back and made me lash out to him and we had a major fight yesterday is that i discovered that he has blocked me from his facebook page.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Looking For Funke Akindele's Wedding Pictures?

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Funke Akindele of Jenifa fame is one of the most notable comedic actresses in Nigeria. She has also shown off her acting chops in critically acclaimed movies like Maama with seasoned director, Tunde Kelani. Funke Akindele got married over the weekend and pictures are beginning to surface on several media sites.

Toast to happiness for Funke Akindele and husband

It seems a lot of her fans are searching for the pictures and probably due to the post I had made about Funke's role in her new movie, Married but Living Single, some of the searches are landing on this blog. So for those searching, enjoy :)

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Kelly Clarkson - Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)

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This week has been a time of ups and downs for me, so this is a bit personal. But I'm sure so many out there can identify with this as well. Those who have had their heart broken in one way or another, by a significant other, a job they didn't get, losing someone they love, etc. What doesn't kill us will make us stronger for sure.

Hope you guys are having a good weekend?



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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Will You Choose Your Pets Over Your Spouse?

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I know the issue of pets is a very delicate one. A lot of people consider their pets as their babies and we know a lot of women, if not all, will definitely choose their children over their husbands. I personally do not own any pets but neither do I see myself getting so worked up if Atala decides we should get some. Having said that, I'm assuming he would consult me before bringing the pets into the house, and only want one or two dogs or cats or some of the more common pets, like fish, birds, or mice.


Not all spouses may be so agreeable or reasonable. About a couple of weeks ago, I read about a girl who loved snakes and the blogger wanted to know if anyone would marry her and sleep in the same bed with her snakes. Of course most comments were negative. But that is before the fact, I mean, before you invest your emotions in a long term relationship. What if you're already married, and then your spouse develops a very strong love for animals to the extent of bringing hundred of them into your house?

"A man from southern Israel divorced his wife this week because she had brought 550 cats into their home. The husband, apparently not a cat lover, told the Rabbinical Court in Beersheba that he was unable to sleep in his bedroom because the surface of the marital bed was constantly covered with cats who refused to lie on the floor.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

For Duets, John Legend and Robin Thicke Bring it!

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John Legend is one of my favorite musicians, most his songs are just fabulous. For instance, We're Ordinary People, is just so full of Melody. I also love guys who play an instrument and the guy is not bad to look at either. He amazed me at the Sade Concert last year where he was the opening act, and when I heard he was on the new ABC show, Duets, I just had to tune in.

It was a good call, and by the end of the show, I was glad I did and know I'll be watching more episodes. While I wanted to root for John Legend's first partner, Johnny Gray, who happened to be from Seattle, it was his second duet with Bridget Carrington, that blew me away. They sang "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)" and you could almost touch their chemistry.


That is indeed what Duets are all about. There was the call and response, their voices matched each other note and pitch and they worked that stage! The difference was definitely clear between the first and second performance, and I'm hoping Bridget stays for a while.

Another stand out performance for me was Robin Thicke and his first partner, Olivia Chisholm. They dueted on his sexy song, ‘Lost Without You,’ looking into each other's eyes, and scooting up close and personal. Wow, it was getting hot even in my living room, and I was like, "get a room already", and then I wondered, maybe I should drag someone into mine. Believe me, it was that hot, LOL...

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Splash into Summer Giveaway - International

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The Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop is from May 25th to 31st and whoever thought of, and timed this giveaway either knows the weather very well or has some control over it. Can you believe it's been raining almost non-stop for the past five days? Oh well, on this blog, the way I want to splash into summer is to pass that 1300 followers mark. I am also celebrating my books A Heart to Mend and A Love Rekindled, both sitting pretty at the top-ten books on the Worldreader book app. Thanks for all the support.


The winner will receive a $10 cash prize! The lucky follower should be able to collect their cash prize via Amazon Gift Card or Paypal funds transfer. Books (including shipping) of same value can also be shipped via Amazon or Book Depository. There are 4 entries in all, and it is mandatory you leave a comment on this post in answer to the question, What's your favorite summer activity. Entries close May 31, and I'll announce the winner within 48hrs and also send them an email.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter Form below.

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Who is Looking After Your Children?

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"Statistics show that the effects of sexual abuse can prove to be traumatic to a child and lead to serious mental problems during adolescence and adulthood. It’s important to mention that most kids who were abused grow up to become abusers and dysfunctional themselves in some way, shape, or form. Please protect our children. They are our future."

Above quote is the second blogger I subscribe to who has mentioned a child abuse video circulating, (who even made that video?) and while I do not want to think about it, I know child sexual abuse by minders of whatever age is real. Blogger Neetah is a doctor, and has worked with dysfunctional families who have experienced child abuse, sexual or emotional, and has the following pointers to help adults to be more vigilant and supportive of the children in their care. You can read the full post on her blog;

1)      Handsome, rich men molest children. Beautiful, talented women molest children. Ordinary people you laugh with every day molest children. Family members molest children. Church members molest children. Parents or siblings molest children. Hired helps and neighbors molest children.  Married people molest children. You simply cannot tell a child sexual predator by looking. (But do pay attention to your instincts, which see deeper than a person’s surface appearance). Most child molesters are known and liked by others and they cultivate certain relationships in order to gain access to children. Whether or not a person twangs your intuition, observe the person closely and don’t let him/her have your child alone until you’re satisfied they are completely safe. Talk to others about them. Find out all you can.

2)      A child molester may hug and cuddle your child in healthy ways right in front of you and your child doesn’t resist or fuss. This doesn’t mean nothing’s happening. Molesters themselves say that they deliberately do this so that your child, the victim, thinks you approve of the way the molester touches them. A child assumes his parents know what’s going on, so when the molester hugs him in front of you and you’re fine with that, the child thinks you’re OK with what happens in private too.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Touch of Spice by Nicole Bassey

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Who says Nigerians don't read or cannot write about sex? With my two romance novels dominating the most-read books chart on the Worldreader Book App, they wanted more. Therefore, Naijastories.com is co-ordinating a writing contest for Worldreader to acquire steamy love stories written for an African audience. The story below is one of the 35 submissions received and you can enjoy more of the Touch of Spice series and Vote your favorite on the NS Polls Page.


Touch of Spice by Nicole Bassey - Rating - 18+

Keseima added a touch of spice to the pot of goat meat pepper-soup. She tasted it and smiled to herself, her mother-in-law would love it. She brought it off the fire and put a small pot of rice on, the smoke brought tears to her eyes but she bore it bravely. It could have been worse as her late husband Udeme used to say…. Udeme, the name brought bittersweet memories to mind. She remembered their first kiss, their coded jokes and their second honeymoon. He was so strong, so kind, and so thoughtful. She had thought it would last forever until that fateful Saturday three years ago. He was driving down from Port-Harcourt to see her at Uyo where she was doing a post graduate program in nursing. A group of nomadic cattlemen lost control of their herd, they ran across the road and a petrol tanker rammed into them. Udeme was two cars behind but all that remained of him was charred broken bones.

They tried to hide the news from her but it was only a matter of time. She wept uncontrollably for months and sometimes felt she was losing her mind. Three years later she still missed him but she knew he was gone for good. Her mother-in-law said it was time she considered settling down again as she was not getting younger. She knew that but it was not that easy.

At thirty-two she looked several years younger. She was 5foot 8inches tall with a full 40D sized bust, a narrow 26 inch waist and a generous backside. Her beniseed brown skin was smooth and shiny. Her face was oval shaped framing large luminous eyes that made grown men turn babies. She was a beautiful woman. Her friends made jokes about her being made on a Friday night; hence the extra care and exceptional good looks.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Debate Tuesday - Are Women Really Woe To Men?

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I don't know that the Debate Tuedsay will become regular again but it's been a while we had one of them, so this is a throwback. Ladies, now don't be distracted by Will Smith as you read the text beside him. Yes, I saw I am Legend, and yes, it is true what the synopsis on the poster below says, but come on!


Some men will blame women for all and everything, including the fact that they cannot spell their names. It must be a woman's fault somehow. What say ye? Male perspectives will be much appreciated.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Seattle Rain Spoils My View of a Solar Eclipse

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Last weekend was another reason to rail against the poor weather in this side of the country. While most of the other places on the West Coast were enjoying views of the solar eclipse that happened on Sunday, the rain and clouds over Seattle ruled that out for us. I've been looking forward to the eclipse for a while now, and was very hopeful since we had excellent weather most of last week.

AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson

That bright run ended on Saturday and the whole of Sunday was all bleh. And to think we actually drove several miles to see if we could catch it in another part of the county. It got dark for a while but the clouds were just too thick. Well, thank God for pictures and video. Did anyone else manage to catch this?

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

So, When Are You Two Going To Get Married?

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No, no, I'm not asking you that. I was only imagining that's the question Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, then girlfriend, had to answer a lot of the time. They dated for over nine years, and for a lot of people in America, that is a loongg time, longer than some marriages. In Nigeria, where overly long dating/courtship/engagements are not really encouraged, I can imagine the question would be even more common to long term but unmarried couples.


When two people are exclusive with each other for a long time, and are open to others about their relationship, those around them begin to mark time for them. People assume the lady is wasting her time and chances with other men, plus her biological clock is ticking. Others think the man is using her, and will dump her when he finds who/what he really wants.

Many believe they are sleeping together, and for those who think that way, this devalues the worth of the woman in the man's eyes, after all, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. I certainly do not subscribe to this way of seeing things. Then again, is there some sense behind societies' disapproval of long dating/courtship/engagement periods?

According to those who have studied these things, two years is the optimal time to date and get to know each other. These researchers say this gives enough time for those in a relationship to really get a fix on each other's personalities and stuff like how people react under stress. However, I don't think time is the only factor, and may not even be a determinant, at all. A couple can date for 3 months and within that period, one loses his job, or develops a health problem, something traumatic that they're able to overcome together. This will certainly bond them closer.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg Updates Status to Married

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There are several relationship statuses on Facebook. There's single, there's it's complicated, there's in a relationship, and there's married. Mark Zuckerberg, changed his own status from In a relationship to Married just this evening and it's got everyone buzzing. There are almost half a million likes to the update which came with the picture below.

But isn't that why it is called Facebook? It is the social networking site to allows us to indulge our ego, voyeurism, or paranoia as the case may be. You have to update every detail of your life with a picture, and now there's a timeline to make sure everything is in chronological order. Talk about nerds and techies, but hey, we fall in love and get married too, and the latest is Mark Zuckerberg :)

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Hidden Ville - An Upcoming Comic Series

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About a couple of months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Mike's Frequency, contacted me to discuss his recent project. A friend of his who is an artist, Korede Awofuwa, had started a cartoon blog and Mike wanted me to check it out. I liked what I saw and Mike said I should expect a cartoon version of my FB profile. Below is the outcome of that discussion.


Since then, Mike and Korede have gone ahead to set up a full scale comic seies. Korede is the author of ‘Be the Difference’, he studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Covenant University where his love for the paintbrush grew amidst waves of complex circuits and theorems.

Korede has recently launched his company Koryarts Ventures, an artistic company that renders art services such as graphic designs, album cover artworks, drawings, paintings, handmade cards and photography works. He is launching the first product of Koryarts, a comic series titled ‘HIDDEN VILLE’ with the help of a team of creative individuals.

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Oko Mi by Ju Spice - Romance Meets Music

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Oko Mi is Yoruba for ‘My Husband’ and is Ju Spice's first single. The song is dedicated to all husbands and men that will be man enough to tie the knot. As well as the heart-felt lyrics, I love the traditional elements in the song and which also infuses into the video - simple and sweet. Enjoy and have a lovely weekend.


"Ju Spice is a Contemporary Soul singer whose earthy music has a blend of High Life, Juju, Hip-Hop and R&B. Married and blessed with a kid and with another on the way, she is a Gospel minister and presently the Music Director of Church Reloaded, Warri." Bellanaija.com
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Friday, May 18, 2012

The First Year of Marriage - Two Becomes One?

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I read a thread on Nairaland sharing on the first year of marriage and it surprised me how even though most people's marriages are different, in some cases, you see yourself in the midst of many. It was also interesting that a lot of unmarried peeps reading commented that it was a very useful topic for them because they didn't really know much about marriage or what to expect. Who really does?


This got me thinking, and one day I'll share a full post on my own first year. Suffice to say that I equally asked myself at least once, are you sure? The answer by the time the night was done always came back positive. 

Anyway, I was mostly nodding as I read, lots of familiarizing sex, some wow, some not so great. Some clashes of personality as iron tried to sharpen iron, some intensely beautiful moments that even words cannot describe, the long, lazy days, the days you miss your family so much, you cry. Then add to that being in a new place, trying to make new friends, find your feet, re-organize your goals and accept changes, physically, mentally and emotionally, it is a trying period for me, I tell you.

However, I'll not trade those memories for any thing. There's just this thing about marriage that either brings out the best or the worst in you, and when you go into it with the right mindset and the right person, it matures you like nothing else. Some of the responses on the NL thread included the following;

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Love in Bloom is Sweet Romance

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For the past few days, it's been all sunshine and flowers over here. The rain is staying away and the sun is bathing everything in sweet warmth that is just hits the spot, not too hot yet. It gives me this light feeling inside and on our plenty walks I want to stop and smell the flowers or pluck some to put in my hair.


Love is definitely in bloom in this corner of my world and it is just the perfect time for this giveaway. Featuring Lighthearted/Contemporary Young Adult and Sweet/Clean Adult Romance, the hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Portrait of a Book.

I really enjoyed reading the following book after winning it in a giveaway and want to share the love. I will be giving away a copy of Found in Translation by Roger Bruner and his daughter Kristi Rae Bruner.

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Unconditional Love - Tribute to Donna Summer

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Donna Summer, the disco queen, passed away today after a long battle with cancer. "Summer [was] known for her many hits, including "Hot Stuff," "Last Dance," "She Works Hard for the Money" and "Bad Girls," among many others, and won five Grammys over the course of her career.Born Donna Gaines and raised in Boston, Summer began singing in her church and decided to pursue a career in music in the late '60s. After performing in musicals in Europe, she released her first single, "Sally Go 'Round the Roses," Aol Music

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Most of Donna Summer's songs had the disco trademark tune and who can forget classics like She Works Hard for the Money, Last Dance, I Will Go With You, and Unconditional Love? I Will Go With You is a powerful ballad, full of soul, and my type of music, but Unconditional Love left a lasting impression on me from way back when. Donna Summer collaborated on it with Musical Youth, and the songs has one of those catchy tunes that stays with you long after you've finished listening to it. And then there was the video with small children who back then were around the same age with my siblings and I. You can imagine that we memorized the lyrics of the song and performed it on one or more occasions.

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My Big Fat Nigerian Wedding - Creativity or Extravagance?

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I was reading a blog the other day by an expat who attended their first Nigerian wedding in Nigeria and was amazed that there were over 10 priests. The blogger joked that it was as if the planners of the wedding wanted there to be as many ministers as possible witnessing the marriage so that no one can deny it took place after the fact. I smiled as I remembered my own wedding. There were two bishops, 3 Archdeacons and about 7 other priests.


In any typical Nigerian wedding, there are at least 2 or 3 priests and then you have to talk about the 200 - 1000 other guests that attend, and the masses of money paid for photography and video for the big day. Of course, it is not about witnesses, but about the Nigerian way of inviting as many friends and family as you can to celebrate with you.  This ties back a bit to my post on destination weddings and the recent CNN article on the wedding boom in Nigeria.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

An African American Finally on the Bachelorette

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Do you think there'll ever be a African American man or woman as the main star on the Bachelor Series? I am just catching up on the season premiere of The Bachelorette and got to see that the guy below came on as one of the 25 contestants in the first episode. Unfortunately, he has already been kicked off by Emily who is the Bachelorette of the season. He wasn't the wackiest of them all but I guess he's not to Emily's specs.

Lerone [ABC.com]

About a month ago, the news were abuzz about the racism that has been observed in the TV Show. Two African American men had sued ABC and the show producers for not giving them the same chance to get on as contestants on the show as other white applicants. The cited their short auditions and the fact that since the inception of the show, no African American has been the star of the show, and there had only been a handful of black or minority contestants.

At this point, after watching 5 of the series back to back, I am even wondering whether they should even bother. The show seems to be losing its shine for me. Of the five couples I watched hook up, only one pair are still together. Funny thing is, apart from one of them, I saw their breakup on the cards even before the finales rolled. It was as if they undermine themselves, maybe they're really not there to find love or someone to marry, but just to be on TV and get to kiss and see as many women as they can. Hmpf.

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Ego Massaging - Also Known As Giving Compliments

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Mmm... yeahh... oh yeah, that feels really good.... yeah.... mmhh? Oh, excuse me. You just interrupted me as I was enjoying a good and nourishing ego massage from Myne. Ego massage, you wonder? Should I even be admitting this in public?


Hi there, this is Atala. Let me step back a bit and answer the question for those of you who are wondering: what exactly is ego massaging? Simply put, it is the act of making someone feel better about themselves with the power of words aka giving compliments. It is about making them feel more confident, more optimistic and filled with more positive aspirations by making utterances that resonate with their ego.

In fact, ego massaging is part and parcel of our culture, right from the moment we are born - we are given positive, aspirational names such we are guaranteed to get a mini ego-massage every time someone calls our name.

So if this is what ego massaging can achieve, why is it condemned at all? Well, the problem is that there is a right and a wrong way to go about ego-massaging. This is why ego-massaging is an art - it is not for the unskilled person who thinks that it is about opening their mouth and uttering complimentary words. Oh, no. On the contrary, a skilful ego-massager will know the following:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How I Take care of My Skin

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I'm talking about my skin today because I was reminded by the last meme I took part in - 11 Question Tag - where I answered questions about my beauty regime and my favorite beauty product. While I'm not a cosmetic junkie by any means, I try to use a small number of good quality skin care products to take care of my skin, especially my face. While it's not susceptible to acne, the sun is a different matter altogether and I have noticed that generally, my face tends to be darker than the rest of my body.

You see, when you do not use products with sun protection in a tropical country like Nigeria, the possibility of sun damage is very high. A few years ago, I began to notice the uneven skin tone down the sides of my face. Funnily enough, I never realized how susceptible I was to sunburn until I moved to the United States.

I had gone to the beach with Atala wearing a halter-neck bathing suit and without sunscreen. It was my first summer here after a very dreary spring and I was lapping up the sun like a dog starved of water. However, I had to beg for us to leave after some hours. My back was on fire. You guessed it, I had sunburn on my face and my back. It was so serious that I had to use medication for almost a week after that.

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Were You Team Karen or Team Ivy on Smash?

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The season finale of the NBC show Smash aired last night, and we finally know who got the leading role. I was kind of disappointed to be honest cos I had been rooting for Ivy to get it throughout most of the season's episodes. By the way, Smash is a portrayal of what it takes to put together a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe and get it to Broadway

NBC.com

I liked the show, not just because it was a musical, and followed it semi-religiously every Monday for the past few months. It was well written, and the staged music was just fantastic. They had some pretty interesting characters and some storylines that kept me watching.

The competition between the two would-be leading ladies geared up very from the very first episode when we were introduced to two talented singers vying for the spotlight and the chance to play Marilyn. As the season progressed, we got to know them better, with the two of them striking up an uneasy alliance along the line. The rivalry ratcheted up last week when the character of Uma Thurman, star Rachel Duvall, bowed out of the production of Bombshell among other stuff happening.

So who are the two women battling it out in the ring?

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Expectations from Relationships - What are Yours?

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One thing I've come to realize as my marriage progresses is that relationships are all about expectations, even as they are about communication. A lot of us have very high expectations of relationships and even much more of marriages. These expectations follow us from childhood, and what we see our parents and other married couples do. We read them in books, watch them in movies and TV and play-act them in the little mummy and daddy drama we take part in with other children.


We also pick some up as adults as we begin to negotiate life on our terms and mix up with different kinds of individuals, at work and at play. When some of these expectations are picked up from broken relationships that are not properly healed, they are known as baggage. I read an excerpt from Timaya's interview in a magazine where he said,

“My bride must be very intelligent, outspoken, caring and loving. Her strongest quality is, she must be God-fearing. A woman that is God-fearing will not jump around and she will be submissive to her man. I’m not searching for a perfect woman. I’m not yet married because I haven’t found a God-fearing woman who will pamper me and our would-be children. A woman that cooks very well and who will stay my side in time of trials. A woman who loves me from the depth of her heart, in spite of my shortcomings.” [Source]

These are indeed some of the expectations we have of relationships, and the people we get into them with. Sometimes we're lucky and we meet the people who fit into our wishes up to an extent that we can live with, and all things being equal, and when there's mutual attraction and love, we get together either in short or long-term relationships. It is actually good to know what you want and expect from the person you want to enter a relationship. And as one gets older, we begin to add to those expectations that we prefer a long-term relationship, that is, marriage.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are - Romance Meets Music

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Hope everyone is having a good weekend? This is a hectic one, but gotta share this with you. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars is a beautiful song to share with the ones you love. Enjoy...

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Kindle or Book Gift Idea for Mother's Day?

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Have you considered 50 Shades of Grey? The Ad below is a really funny spoof but it is Not Safe For Work, and if your kids are sensitive or too wise, do not watch with them. And if you are too squemish, do not watch either. This is Saturday Night Live being as irreverent as possible. Don't say I didn't warn you. That said, let's laugh a little...


Did someone ask what the book is all about? Amazon Description - "When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms."

You can read blogger Flourishing Florida's thoughts on the book below.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

If Tears Could Speak by Salatu Sule

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It is almost midnight, and the city is now very quiet. From the balcony where I am sitting, I can see the mild glow of the street lights reflecting off the tarred road. I hear the whoosh of waves beating on the rocks, a sound amplified in the stillness of the night. The children are asleep after the day’s hustle. Though I call them ‘children’, they are all grown up.


Hassan is a strapping young man of twenty-seven and has just started his own business – hard to believe, isn’t it? Walid is nineteen, looks as burly as Hassan and believes he has no more growing up to do. Faiza, your little princess, is twenty-two and it is because of her that we are all here this weekend.

Is it not strange that for the first time in fifteen years, we will be here together again on October 1st? I wonder if this day carries any special significance for Faiza. She was touched much more deeply than anybody else. Hassan went to boarding school shortly afterwards; Walid was young, too young to remember those tumultuous times.

I remember many things, too many things, things I don’t want to remember: Mama and her harsh words, Big Brother and his sudden hostility. I can see the bedroom again as it was on that morning, many Octobers ago. Faiza barges in, in her customary manner, throwing a greeting as she bounds up to the bed where you are lying.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sign Fireman's Church and Hot Girls in Lagos

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This is for those living in Nigeria. Please did anyone actually see this flyer or poster in Lagos? I just saw it on Facebook and wanted to brush it off as a Nollywood spoof but someone insisted it was real? Surely this is one of those Lady Gaga, Rihanna-Beyonce movies?


BTW, I watched the documentary on Sign Fireman and some other Nigerian pastors where he said God is a game and Church is essentially a business, but this is surely crossing the line? I have been SMH since I saw this. Lagos peeps, I await answers...
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Obama Makes a Stand for Same Sex Marriage

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I don't think Obama speaking out will make such a huge difference in the scheme of things, but it will certainly make for a more interesting time as the election campaigns heat up.

"I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient. I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs. I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."


On how Michelle feels on the Issue;
"This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people. We are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule; treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president."

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Stock Exchange Drama and Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke

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As a writer, sometimes you feel like a prophet. I remember researching a subplot for A Heart to Mend in 2009, and deciding to frame it as a vendetta against the backdrop of illegalities in the Nigerian Stock Market. It wasn't totally new to me to be honest.


I had worked in a Nigerian Bank for about 2 years between 2005/06 and admired Soludo and Okereke-Onyuike in the beginning. As a BDO within that period, I advised clients to invest in stocks as well as used some of my own money to do the same. By the time I left the bank, I was less naive about how these things worked.

Some of that experience was what fed into writing the character of Edward in AHTM and setting the book in 2006. That year was quite a volatile one for the financial institutions in Nigeria, some of it good, some bad.

Just before I quit, my bank had just gone public, and employees were getting delayed salaries, and our bonuses were arbitrarily being converted to shares and stock of which we never saw certificates. There were rumors of margin trading, insider dealing, etc. By the time I checked on my stock investments by 2009, it was back to square one, and in some cases, ground zero.

Now, the truth is coming out gradually;

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The 11 Question Tag - Who's Next?

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It's been quite a while since I did my last meme that I've almost forgotten about them. But I do like reading the getting-to-know you tags on other blogs, and it's nice when someone remembers you. I was tagged by Destiny + Yankeenaijachick Success. Thankyou, dear.


These are the rules - You must post 11 things about yourself. Answer the questions that your tagger posted for you. Create 11 questions, then choose 11 people and tag them to answer your questions. Remember to let them know you tagged them. No tag backs...Let the tagger know when you answered their questions. So these are eleven things about me -

1. I live 8, and sometimes 9hrs behind GMT. This is for those in Naija and UK who beef me on FB and Twitter cos they think I ignore their tweets and chats. I am possibly sleeping by then.

2. To those saying HUH! to the above, don't be fooled by when my blog posts are published, most of them are scheduled days if not weeks in advance.

3. I am from Asaba and like to brag about it, but seriously, I don't know much about Asaba and the people. I sometimes cringe when people ask, oh...do you know so and so family?

4. I like musicals and so I guess it follows that I like the Opera. After attending about three Live Performances, I was almost about to scratch it off my interests list then I saw Madama Butterfly on a large screen. I now know I prefer it that way.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Call it Divorce or Separation - Just Save your Life

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This issue has cropped up again, and it totally tears me up when I hear of women who lose their lives unnecessarily. Let us consider this scenario. An unfaithful husband asks the wife to grant him a divorce cos he now loves another and wishes to be able to remarry after they're separated. Being a Christian woman, she refuses and remains in the same house with him as they begin counselling. The man, unwilling to lose his job or his lover, fakes therapy, and then plans and kills the wife.


The scenario above is a real story and it shocked me that off the back of it, some people are still quoting God hates divorce, and marriage is for life/till death. I agree that God hates divorce, but the second is up in the air. Now there are some people that are vexed when I question biblical basis for practical living. This may be the time to stop reading.

For those still reading, back to the story which you can read in full on Gbemisoke's blog, not only did the husband kill his wife, he killed their two sons too. Without mincing words, he is a monster and is deservedly in jail. I do not want to blame the woman because her heart was probably in the right place, but maybe if she had left, her life and those of her sons would have been saved. Also, maybe the devil would have found no foothold in the mind of the adulterous man to make him a murderer too.

I say the woman's heart is in the right place because a lot of us for various good reasons do not want to see our marriages end. There are the children to consider, and in some cases, you may still love the man and want to save him from himself, for instance if he is being unfaithful to you, or losing his faith in God. But there are other more selfish reasons people do not want to consider divorce. There is pride and wanting to save face among friends, or simply wanting to continue benefiting from the perks of legal marriage.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Controversy

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So I heard from Myne that the winner of the ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ contest has been announced, but there’s some controversy surrounding the winner. It seems that some people are unhappy with the choice and feel that she’s not beautiful enough to deserve the title.

I’ll say that I’m not fussed one way or the other, though. In fact, I am unhappy with the whole MBGN contest idea. I always say of communities of people, “show me your reward system, and I’ll tell you the kind of community you are”.


So when a community pays so much attention to rewarding someone based on physical beauty, young people, especially – are going to get the message that spending lots of time on making yourself physically beautiful is their best bet.

I find it disappointing, because Nigeria really does not need more beautiful people right now. What the country needs are people who are intelligent; people who are creative; people who are entrepreneurs; people who show compassion towards others. At the end of the day though, I guess that the world is big enough for all kinds of contests to be held, and the MBGN organizers are doing their bit.

Still, I would not mind so much if I saw that there were contests held in Nigeria to reward the kind of people I have spoken of above. But I don’t hear that much of these kinds of contests; either they do not exist, or they do not have the same amount of money channelled towards them, and therefore the publicity is much more muted compared to the MBGN contest.

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Children's Book Week Giveaway - Celebrating Reading

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Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running literacy initiative in the country. Each year, books for young people and the joy of reading are feted for a full week with author and illustrator appearances, storytelling, parties, and other book-related events at schools, libraries, bookstores, museums, and homes from coast to coast! Visit Book Week Online for more information.


This giveaway hop to celebrate and promote Children's Book Week is hosted by KidLitFrenzy, Classic Children's Books, Mymcbooks and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. I will be giving away a paperback copy of Thomas Riley by Nick Valentino. The reading age is 13 and Up, and this giveaway is open to US residents only.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend Pictures - The Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

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Hi everyone, hope your weekend has been going well? I am sharing some pictures today of a kind of Safari experience, right here in the USA. The NorthWest trek appealed to me because of the combination of a guided tour through a wildlife reserve and nature hiking.

Posing with the logo of the Park
The guided tour aspect involved riding a tram across the expanse where the wildlife roams freely, and we got to see bison, Roosevelt elk, moose, mountain goats and other native animals, up close in the wild.

After that, we trekked through the well marked trails in the park, a kind of self-guided zoo experience that included grizzly bears, wolves, mountain lions, beavers, wolverines and some birds like the owls and eagles in very natural looking exhibits. Enjoy.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yanni's Secret - Romance Meets Music

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I was listening to Yanni last week and came across this song which was used as a sound track in Serendipity - a romantic movie starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. I love the song, and may just look for the movie. Has anyone seen it? What do you think?

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The Purist and the Pragmatist - Atala Writes

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I am the Purist. I am the Pragmatist.

I am the Purist. I believe in the ideal. I believe in absolutes. I believe in rigour. I believe in order. I believe in discipline. I believe in principle.

I am the Pragmatist. I believe in the real. I believe in relatives. I believe in flexibility. I believe in spontaneity. I believe in passion. I believe in tolerance.


I am the Purist. I believe in black and white; good and evil; darkness and light. He who is not for me is against me, and he who is not against me is for me. In the fight for good, there can be no middle ground - that is for wafflers, equivocators and flip-floppers.

I am the Pragmatist. I believe in a continuum of shades of grey; what appears dark to one may appear light to another. My friend's enemy may be my enemy today for this cause, and my friend tomorrow for another cause. Life is too complex to be reduced to dichotomies.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

The Secret Love Letter

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If you care to know, I fell in love at a very tender age of 8 and the subject of my love was no other than the handsome bespectacled class captain Joseph Obayanju. I was a shy child and so when I tripped and fell head over heels with Joseph there was little I could do. Being a child with lots of writing paper, a pen and a good grasp of the English Language I decided to put my heart on paper and damn the consequences.


You see, it was quite unusual at the time for an 8 year old girl to declare her love for an 8 year old boy. It was an even stranger thing to see for a girl of that age to be so sure that she had found the one who she wanted to share her life with. It was therefore with this fear that I picked my pen that beautiful Tuesday during the 2nd term holidays and wrote down my feelings for the man…boy I loved.

I started out by asking him how the holiday had been then plunged right in and told him I loved him. Now that I look back I do not know what I expected from Joseph. But at that time it made a lot of sense to me and because it made sense to write the letter, it also made sense to send the letter to him, so when school resumed for the third term I was armed with my new school bag, new books and the love letter burning a hole in my bag.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Addendum to Grandma's Love and Sex Tips

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Some of you may already have seen this. It was first published by Nerve.com last month and picked up yesterday by Huffington Post after going viral on the interwebs. I have to say that for Grandma, with age came wisdom. Read my notes in bold italics, and let's discuss.

Image Source - Nerve.com

1. To know if you are both in love, you feel a "connection" in bed. If you feel ALONE in bed when having sex, you are with the wrong man. This is CRITICAL! The connection of mind, body, soul!
- Is Grandma saying what I am thinking?!

2. There is real love that everyone wants but it does not happen to everyone - it is called "soul-mates," spiritual, supernatural. This is the highest form of love - it is a religious feeling. You have found God. You know instantly, "love at first sight." You know he was meant for you and he is your real husband, and he knows you are his wife-to-be.
- Amen. Preach it, Sister!

3. When having sex and the female does not enjoy it, I strongly recommend that the female gets on top of the man. It always works, the female has a climax and enjoyment. If he wants to perform oral sex on you, enjoy it!
- LOL...Probably different for everyone. Did Grandma every try it from the back? Ahem!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Love Perseveres, It is People Who Change

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This short piece was submitted by a writer I work with, and is an inspirational article on dealing with break-ups and heart break. I hope you like it, and please do leave a comment.


Meeting someone new is quite easy; it is forgetting the old person that is the hard part. Not many people have the strength to do that, while in other cases, the will is clearly non-existent. Some find it incredibly difficult to agree that it really is over. No one ever thinks it’s going to end, but it does, and more often than not. I mean, the reality is glaring yet they hold on to a long faded idea.

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Choose - Happiness, Money, Love, Health or Fame

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So I saw this picture on Facebook and decided to share here. It asks, how would you rank happiness, money, love, health and fame in your life? Seems pretty simple, right?


I chose health, happiness, love, money, fame. But it wasn't an easy choice, and I'm still not sure I shouldn't re-arrange. I thought to put love first, but I am a fan of happy ever afters, and that's not possible without health. And surely that also means happiness must be present to feed the love?

Anyway, the picture got as many different itirations as the number of comments I got on the status update. Most people put fame last, except one friend who put fame before money. Another peace first.

What about you? How do you choose, and do you think something is missing?
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Do you Call Him Boo or Baby in Public?

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Or do you only call them the pet names in private?

I ask because most people usually have a personal name they call their partners, those sweet, romantic names like boo, baby, sweetie, honeypie, sugar, daddy, mummy, etc. These endearments are used most often in private, and sometimes there are those deeper ones one uses only during tender, intimate moments, like ahem, ahem :)


But what if one gets so used to using those names that it comes out in public? I have found myself in that situation a few times,but it was OK because it was just one or two close friends around. In a real crowd, I'm usually more self aware when it comes to calling Atala's name.

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