Thursday, January 31, 2013

Genevieve Nnaji Cut From Half of a Yellow Sun Movie?

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Reports coming out of Nollywood indicate that the adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie's award winning book, Half of a Yellow Sun, will be screened at the 2013 FESPACO film festival, opening in Ouagadougou, February 23. That means it may be reaching the cinemas as soon as summer, if not before.

The feature film has a cast that includes Thandie Newton [who remembers the furor?], John Boyega, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dominic Cooper, Anika Noni Rose, and Joseph Mawle. Nigerians involved in the project are Biyi Bandele, directing, Cobhams Asuquo and Keziah Jones, both composing original music for the film, and Genevieve Nnaji with small acting part. Most of that small role may have ended on the editing/cutting room floor.

Like I've learned since I started doing movie reviews, all adapted films have three stages - there's the book, then the script, and finally the director's vision. So anything can happen to change around a story during those stages. If you've read the book, you'll know there's a heartbreaking love story involved, but I'm not sure which part Genevieve is playing.

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Boiled Potatoes With Celery and Tomato Stew

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I love vegetable sauces, I like that between 15 - 25 minutes I have a ready meal when I need it. I can either stir-fry, fry, steam or just saute a mix of my choice of vegetables and voila! Food is ready. Celery is one of those vegetables I got introduced to after I left Nigeria, and I fell in love with it's refreshing taste and flavor. I had to be sure how it is cooked, and unlike most vegetables, this actually requires 15 - 20 minutes to be well cooked.

To make this stew, you need the following;
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
A small bunch of celery stalks with some hearts if possible. Washed and sliced
Four medium sized tomatoes, chopped
Half a medium sized onion, sliced
Ground pepper,
Salt and spices to taste.

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When People Say Men Must Rape

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I try not to take most things too seriously, but there are issues that get my blood boiling. One of those topics is rape. Women and children continue to be the vast majority when victims of rape are numbered, and I find it galling that our culture would rather blame them or sweep the stories under the carpet, than face the men who perpetrate this hate crime, and deal them full and swift justice.

Now, someone who reads this blog, has written an article for YNaija that seems to be in response to my earlier post, Lets talk to the men who rape, shall we?

In his article, he agrees with my point that a lot of Nigerian men struggle with thoughts of rape, or may have raped before. [This I think is due to the heavily partriarchal culture in Nigeria, where women are expected to be subservient to men, and women's bodies are seen as owned by their men or the society].

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A Romantic Short Film to Make You Fall in Love

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This video is just too cute, and the ending put a goofy smile on my face. But I wonder though, are there poeple who are absent-minded and forgetful as that lady in the ad? I can't help but think that one day she'll even forget herself join, hehehe...
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How To Date Someone You Work With

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Once deemed extremely taboo in the workplace, dating between coworkers is no longer swept under the rug as it used to be. This can be attributed to the fact that many companies have enacted policies to specifically address the proper means of handling such romances, and, if handled in a professional and appropriate manner, these interoffice relationships may not cause friction and lack of productivity amongst coworkers. Let us not forget, Barack and Michelle met on the job, so it may not be as bad of a look as some may believe it to be.

A 2012 CareerBuilder survey found nearly 38% percent of workers have had at least one interoffice romance at one point of their career, although, according to Forbes Magazine, competing company Vault.com found nearly 59% percent of workers surveyed admitted to having a workplace relationship. Of those who dated at work, CareerBuilder found that, like the Obamas, 31 % said their office romances wound up leading to marriage. With numbers like this, companies could no longer turn a blind eye to secretive dalliances of employees.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Watch all Episodes of Lekki Wives Online

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So I blogged about the Lekki Wives series earlier, wondering if they were the morality police or something. This was based on their overly politically-and-religiously-correct PR. But the production and previews were enough to get me interested, and so when it became available, I tried out the first four episodes.

It may be too early to call, but let's just say the show is quite engaging. Maybe by the end, everyone would start getting their comeuppances in order to drive the message, but for now, girls just wanna have fun. The Lekki wives are either not smiling, or they're having the time of their lives.

There are five storylines and by the end of the fourth season, a little or a lot as the case may be, has been revealed about all the lekki wives. As you can easily guess, some plots are better and more realistic than others. I have my favorites already; the trophy wife with the ample butt, followed closely by the one torn between two worlds. Which side do you think she chooses?

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2013 Superbowl Promo and Commercials

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Beyonce is leading the charge for this years superbowl commercials and that's her promo picture. Last year's Super Bowl halftime show drew an estimated 4 million viewers in addition to the almost 110 million people that watched the game itself! That’s right: nearly four million more people tuned in to watch Madonna perform. This year, mega-superstar singer BeyoncĂ© Knowles will be headlining the halftime show.

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Grilled Beef Ribs with Vegetable and Mushroom

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Most of us, myself included, believe it's not a proper meal if there's no carbohydrate involved. So most of our meals feature a starchy element either as the main meal or a side. If you're a typical Nigerian like me, it had to be the main dish jare, at least by size.

So the eba/poundo/amala has to be bigger than the efo, the rice has to fill the plate, then you'll add a jot of stew or sauce to the top, if you're eating moi-moi or beans, there has to be akamu/ogi/custard or you drink garri with plenty sugar. If you've seen the moi-moi post you'll know I really have a ways to go myself on this issue.

But last year while on the Bouari program, I made a realization. The program promotes healthy eating and calorie counting and wherever possible, all their menu and recipe samples asked for me to quit the carbs. While on the program I did, afterwards, I regressed. But I had learnt some things and they stuck.

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A Woman Tries to Kill Husband Through Oral Sex

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Or Death by the Poisoned Vagina Chronicles. SMH. An allegedly murderous wife tried to kill her husband by putting poison in her vagina and asking him to give her oral sex. The Mirror UK reports;

"A woman is being sued by her husband for allegedly trying to kill him by putting poison in her genitals and then asking him to perform oral sex. The Brazilian wife is accused of planting a toxic substance on her genitals before luring her husband to bed. Reports in the South American country suggest he was ready and willing, and only escaped death because he noticed a strange smell. The curious husband then took his wife to hospital in Sao Jose do Rito Preto to find out the cause of the unusual odour. The alleged attempt on his life was exposed when tests on his wife discovered traces of a poisonous substance down below."

When I hear news like this, or some episodes of Dateline and 48hr Mysteries, I wonder. What drives a partner to murder, or plot to murder their spouses? In this woman's case, wasn't she scared that the toxic stuff she put in her vagina could poison her too? This life, na wa!

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5 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Housewife

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I'll use my personal experience here. I wrote about changing careers after marriage and how I had to move from the UK to the US to join Atala. Making that step was not a simple, light-hearted decision, or one that we took for granted. And that was why I said at the beginning of this article that contrary to most other women, I planned to be a housewife.

We had several conversations about the issue, and contemplated several scenarios, which apart from the option of living in the US together, included Atala moving back to the UK, both of us moving back to Nigeria, only me moving back, or remaining in the UK. None made as much sense as the one we finally went with, moving here and being a stay at home wife.

And though we didn't think it would take this long, a stay at home wife is what I've been for the past few years, and that is the easy part. For the stay home mom, the workload increases exponentially with each child. Add child care to the housework, and you may be working round the clock, especially if you decide to home-school the children. So what should you consider before you jump in?

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Would you Get a Husband From Your Village?

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In a recent interview, a Nigerian musician - Eva Alordiah - expressed her dream to marry a Nigerian man stating, "I am single but not searching. My mother is working on that. She is going to get me a husband from the village. I don’t know how the search is going for her though. I think Nigerian men are fine, we have the best crop of men in Nigeria."

One would immediately assume she must have been joking about the "husband from the village" part, but it's not so far fetched. We have discussed getting husbands and wives from Nigeria on this blog, but taking it a step further by having parents find a "virgin" from the village is exactly what some men and women in Lagos and other cities or outside the country do. The question is, as a woman, would you?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to Make Moi-Moi and Corned Beef - Eat with Pap

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Moi-Moi is one of those meals I forget to cook because I think of it in my head as too difficult to prepare. This is because when growing up, and for a long time after that, we used fresh beans and had to clean it by hand before making moi-moi. When I tried that here the first time, it broke my blender, and since then, my wariness of moi-moi increased. I do cook it once in while a with bean flour, but either the taste doesn't come out the way I want it, or the texture is off.

My mom reminded me of the meal during her last visit, and at our visit to the African store, I bought a pack of the ground bean flour. This one had a recipe and method of preparation on the label and turned out to be the best moi-moi I had prepared in years. I've since bought several packs more of the same kind and moi-moi has more regularly been on the menu.

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Kim Kardashian, Nashville and the Divorce Dilemma

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When Kim Kardashian split from ex-husband Kris Humphries 72days after their wedding, people started tallying up the shortest celebrity marriages. In a quintessential art-imitates-life episode, Nashville, a show on ABC, had one of the series music stars, Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) set a new record for the shortest celebrity marriage ever.

Within that one episode, the upcoming star elopes for a quickie registry wedding with her footballer boyfriend, Sean Butler (a Christian who happened to be waiting till marriage to have sex). After she has her way with him in the wedding limo, he wants them to meet his parents, and there, things fell apart. His mother wants a Church Wedding to put God's blessing on the marriage, and within a week, Sean is waiting for Juliette at the altar.

At that point, she couldn't follow through, and still in wedding gown, flies off in her private jet to start a concert tour. And so ends a marriage. Before I go on, let me state that I love Sean, and hope Juliette gets her act together so they resume their cute TV coupledom. Ain't they cute?

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A Birth Story, Preeclampsia and Eclampsia

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Hmmm..sometimes, pregnancy is just so scary, and when a woman goes through and has a healthy baby, it is really a thing of joy and thanks to God. Downton Abbey is, like any soap worth the name, without its twists. Last night we had one of those shocking episodes that reminded me of Grey's Anatomy, not only in the way it made me cry but also that I went hunting webMD and Wiki. For those who haven't watched it, there may be spoilers ahead.

On Sunday , after the two weddings of the first few episodes, there was a death. Sybil Crawley went into labor, but the joy of having a baby was stifled when the family doctor, Dr. Clarkson, noted that she was suffering from symptoms of preeclampsia - she had swollen ankles, her mind was muddled and there was excess protein in her urine. However, there was a know it all medical man, Sir Philip, who insisted the symptoms were just normal signs of labor.

As they were debating rushing her to the hospital for a cesarean, (her father and Sir Philip preferred a home birth befitting nobility), Sybil goes into labor. She gives birth successfully and there we were thinking it was all over, and was well that ended well. That was not to be.

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Sign Fireman Speaks on his Hot Girls in Lagos Poster

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I was surprised when the slightly light-hearted post I made last year about Sign Fireman and the Hot Girls in Lagos poster went viral and was published and syndicated by various media outlets. It remains one of the top posts on this blog with the #1 keyword for search, showing that it's an issue on the public mind. Today, this comment below was made on that post by Whitney Chad, who I can only assume is Sign Fireman's PR person. For those in Nigeria, read and see if Mr. Fireman has a point.

"The point is that God sent me to bring Twenty-First Century innovations that will change Christianity and make it have more results! Let me give you an example.

Recently, believers do soulwinning among believers! Churches “wins souls” from another church! That is not soul winning! That is souls transfer! They are fishing in the frying pan! Real soulwinning is reaching out to SINNERS and getting them saved! To do that, one has to go to where sinners are!

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Labaran Maku Versus Transparency and Accountability

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Former Nigerian Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, who was also at one time "Madame Due Process is stepping up the national conversation. Last weekend, in her remarks during the convocation lecture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, she accused the Nigerian government of squandering about $45 Billion in foreign reserve account and another $22Billion in the Excess Crude Account left after the last administration. Following the reports of her speech in the press, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, accused Mrs. Ezekwesili of misinforming the Nigerian public, insisting she has doesn't have sufficient understanding of government finances.

According to SaharaReporters, "although Maku made these sweeping statements, he did not provide any substance to his attempted rebuttal of Mrs. Ezekwesili, who was briefly the Minister of Education before her departure for the World Bank. But Minister Maku did say of Mrs. Ezekwesili that she “collected” N352.3 billion as Minister of Education, suggesting that Ministerial budgets are normally “collected” by Ministers."

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Dear Myne - My Boyfriend Does not Have a Degree

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I met this guy of recent early this January. We've just been friends and from all indication he wants to be more than a friend with me. Anytime he is around me he keeps talking about marriage and all. The issue here is that I feel this guy did not attend a higher institution though his English is OK. He is a very nice guy with a good character.

To some extent, one can tell the kind of person a guy is with his relationship with his present family. I have seen him with his family and the way he cares for them. He is the first child with four younger ones. The way he relates with his family shows they are so close. The guy is God fearing.

I have not really had the liver to ask him about school issue, I don't want him to feel bad. There was a time we were talking and I was like for me, I want to go for my PGD this year and then my masters. He didn't say anything towards that so i sensed it and decided not to talk about school with him. I am the sensitive type so I acted sensitively that day by keeping quiet and not talk about school again till when am sure about his own school status.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Mom Holds down her crying Toddler to get a Tattoo

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A shocking video was posted online yesterday which showed a woman, presumably the mother, holding down a crying toddler while he is being given a tattoo. No one is sure of the source but, you can hear the mother saying “mire, mire” – Spanish for “look” – as the distraught boy continues to scream and cry.

Some commentators have compared this to circumcision for boys, or piercing ear-lobes for girls as a way to excuse the act, but I'm not buying it. And while there are conflicting reports, it is believed this took place in Cuba where it's part of the culture, something to do with helping the boy to be a man or something.

Unless, that is the case, that mother and all those adults are simply abusing that child. After all, an American woman was arrested last year for giving her 11years old daughter a tattoo. What do you think?
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Valentine Dinner Special For Toronto, GTA Residents

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Do you want to celebrate Valentine's day a different way? Stay indoors with the one you love away from the noise, traffic and weather conditions for a private dinner catered by Chef Lohi. The No hassle dinner includes a three course meal for two, a bottle of wine, mood music and table decor. With diverse menus for every palette, Lohi's Creations would ensure you always remember Valentines day 2013. To book/inquire call 4168416440 or email Lohiscreations@gmail.com  Spaces are limited, so reserve your space NOW! for more information visit www.lohiscreations.com.

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How to Make Jollof Rice With Chicken and Plantain

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Jollof Rice is one of the staple meals eaten in most Nigerian households. Put simply, it is rice stewed in tomato sauce. The method of preparation differs, and even I personally have about two ways I prepare Jollof Rice. In one method, I mix the tomato stew with stock and then cook the rice in the mixture. In the second, I cook the rice in plain stock with some chopped tomatoes, and mix when done with pre-fried tomato sauce. Using Chicken for my meat and stock, I'll outline the first method which I think is simpler.

Ingredients
3 cups of long-grain rice
1 pack of cut Chicken drumsticks
3 ladles vegetable oil1 can tomato puree - small size
4 small fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 medium size onion, chopped
2 Teaspoon of dry pepper
2 Knorr Chicken cubes
2 fingers of very ripe plantains
Salt and Spices to Taste

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3rd Mainland Bridge Crash and the US Toyota Recalls

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Over the weekend, the news outlets were agog with headlines of an overspeeding Toyota Sienna which crashed through the railings of the Third Mainland Bridge and fell into the Lagos Lagoon. Luckily, there was just one occupant in the car at the time of the accident, and he was rescued by Fishermen and others working on the lagoon. The man has now recovered a bit and spoke to the press saying he had not been overspeeding like had been earlier reported.

Reading this reminded me of the Toyota recalls of the past few years in the United States, of various Toyota brand cars with faulty accelerators. A crash with a recorded 911 call by an occupant who later died along with three others brought the sudden unintended acceleration fault to the public and national consciousness in 2009. Several other crashes involving Toyotas kept surfacing the issue up till 2011 when massive recalls by Toyota were launched, and the CEO appearing at a hearing before the American Congress.

In the Nigerian crash, the driver, Olusola Oladimeji, in addition to insisting that he had not been speeding, also commented that his airbags did not deploy after the crash. I had always kept half an ear on the Toyota faults and recall news since we also have a Toyota, and so this news report today made me try to check around for any connections.

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Couple Love at Pastor Adefarasin's Birthday Dinner

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When I look at red carpet pictures [see pics] of Nigerian events and awards, the shortage or complete absense of couples often strikes me. This time, it was an over-abundance, and that makes my heart glad. Most likely, the event being organized by a Pastor has something to do with it, or the older set of guests. Pastor Paul Adefarasin, the founder of House on the Rock, one of the more popular pentecostal churches in Nigeria, turned 50 recently and celebrated with family and friends. Some of the couples at the event are below.

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How to be a Stay at Home Wife or Mother

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Did you see how I used the stylish name and not the one most of us are used  to put up our noses at. Yeah, the H-word. I mean housewife. Another way to describe staying at home as a wife or mother is as a Homemaker, this I think is the best description. But whichever way it is put, a housewife usually does not have an external income, or she just does not earn as much as she would if she worked outside the home.

For this reason, a lot of stay at home wives and mothers will tell you, "I did not plan to be a housewife", but in my case I actually did. I mean we did, Atala and I. Let me start from the beginning. I am one of those never say never kind of people, I try to remain adaptable, and not to think in absolutes. For instance, it was never taboo in my mind for a woman to choose to be a housewife, the key word being choice. If a woman gets married and decides to stay home, either for the husband or the children, who was I to judge? Especially if it is working for their family?

Having a career or not is one of those topics that can get educated and socially-aware women up in arms, the debate being whether career women can be good mothers, and how much housewives contribute to the economy. I remember when Michelle Obama said at the DNC last year, “... my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’” Some people were not happy about that, and feel that with all her degrees she should be out building on her career and not staying home.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Central Business District, Abuja - Picture Weekend

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I lived in Abuja for just over six years, from July 2000 when I arrived for my youth service to September 2006 when I left for further studies in Scotland. It was the city where I spent the longest part of my adulthood, and where a lot of who I am today was formed. It's probably the only other place in addition to Seattle and Asaba that I consider home.

The last time I was in Abuja was in December 2010, I was there for the Infusion reading organized by Lola Shoneyin. It was a lovely time spent meeting new people, hanging out at some of my old haunts, revisiting some old friends, and generally chilling and fooling around with my sister.

As it was my first visit to Nigeria after a couple of years, I also ate voraciously of everything I had missed. As you can see from my cheeks and arms, I added like 10 pounds within the first week, LOL. But this post is more about the city itself and some the pictures I was able to capture for the time till I visit again.

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I Dreamed a Dream - Les Miserables

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After having assumed all this while that I Dreamed a Dream was a triumphant song, it was a double whammy to watch and listen to Anne Hathaway sing it in the Les Miserables movie. Too sad, I hope it doesn't make you cry. We watched the movie some weeks ago, and I have posted the review. Enjoy the song lyrics below..

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Banky W Yes/No - Music Video Romance

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This is the video for "Yes/No", the lead single from Banky W's R&B album. The song was produced by Cobhams Asuquo and the video co-directed by Clarence Peters and Banky W. The album will drop on Valentine's Day, just a few weeks from today. The video captures a love story from teenage years till a proposal. Enjoy ...
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Date Night Movie Review - Django Unchained

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I have long been a fan of Quentin Tarantino's movies, in fact, Kill Bill is one of my best movies of all time, so I know what to expect when I go to see one of them. I'm not a proponent for violence but I have to admit it feels good to see bad people killed. More than that, I love Tarantino's stories and the way he tells them - his characters, their dialogue, his camera work, the movie soundtrack, everything.

Django Unchained delivered on all these points, in addition, it presented a mirror up to what is the real history of America for us to remember and bear in mind. So while most of his movies are personal, this is both personal and political. I was totally mesmerized by the almost 3 hrs film.

Truth to tell though, I had to close my eyes at certain points in the movie because I couldn't bear to keep watching some of the deep pain and agony sprinkled through the story. This more than the violence was what I found disturbing, and several times I found myself crying. I also laughed a lot, and I can say that love it or hate it, Django Unchained will surely touch you.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Menu Ideas - Oven Roasted Chicken Drumsticks

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Chicken is a staple protein in out household, and Atala's favorite, so you will usually find it in the fridge. It gets so bad sometimes that when I don't make mine, we buy the rotisserie or BBQ types from the store. But more often, I prepare oven-baked or oven-roasted chicken that will last a week or so, both for meals and for munchies.

If you're used to fried chicken, you may wonder why oven-prepared chicken. I haven't fried chicken for over three years now, and I don't know that I ever will again. Since I started trying to eat healthier about 7 years ago, I have always known two not-so-nice things about chicken.

Being white, chicken is the better meat than beef which is red, but when you fry it, or eat the skin, some of that advantage gets wiped off. Now, I love me some skin on my chicken so that was hard for me. But fried chicken, that I could work with removing from my diet.

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WED Magazine's Akin Eso Marries Fola Ayoola

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It's been a while I had a wedding feature and when I saw these lovely pictures on Bella's, I just had to share. The groom is the publisher of one of the leading bridal magazines in Nigeria and this beautiful wedding testifies to his personal sense of style and the vendors he works. Enjoy...

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Dear Myne - I am Happily Married to an Igbo Man

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I am married to an Igbo man and it took a bit of time to adjust to it. Having previously been a fiercely independent American woman, it took a great deal of adjustment on both of our parts. What seemed like control in the beginning I have come to realize is his way of protecting and caring for me. He is a gifted entrepeneur and an excellent provider for myself and his children.

Ha, I had to just laugh when I read that last line, but I won't edit it because its true -- most wives would say our children, but being married to an Igbo man I know they are his. My husband treats me with great respect and kindness. However, he does not place a high priority on my personal needs for affection or attention -- he is doing whatever is necessary to provide for the future of our family often with great sacrifice, and he expects me to do the same.

He is a strict discipliarian with the children, but it touches him deeply when they are hurt or sick or sad ... to see them cry breaks his heart, that is when his tenderness comes out. He isn't harsh or abusive or controlling -- he just expects things done in a certain way. My question is this -- of all that he does and sacrifices for me and his children, is it not a small price to pay to do these things as he wishes??

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Menu Ideas - Curried Rice with Chunky Beef

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This will not be a full recipe post as I believe most of us already know how to cook these basic meals in our own different ways. That doesn't mean there won't be more recipe posts coming up though. Just that for this and some other food posts, I'll be sharing some pictures of what I consider menu ideas.

I'm someone who gets easily bored by routine, and this extends to the food I eat. While I can eat the same meal everyday, especially if it is tasty, on an ordinary day, I'd rather do something to switch it up or spice it up. For instance, I may cook white rice in enough quantity for a few days and we'll eat some while the rest goes into the fridge. The next day, instead of the same rice and stew of the previous meal, I'll make a vegetable sauce, turn it to stewed rice, or even use a soup like Egusi or Okazi.

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When Will a Guy Initiate a Relationship?

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When this question came in from my keyword searches, it was kind of a head-scratching moment. What was this person really looking for? He or she was directed to the post written by Atala on when a relationship actually begins at #1 but to me, it didn't quite seem to answer the question.

I may be wrong, and that post definitely answers the qustion, which was what Atala said seeing that Google search is a pretty accurate mind-reader and tool. But I can't help thinking, what if this asker is a lady, and what she actually means if whether the some things have to happen in a friendship-type relations with a guy before he will try to initiate a relationship.

I don't know if I'm making much sense, but as a lady, I know the gazillion hours of thinking and talking with girlfriends that goes into demystifying the headspace of guys we may like. There's the obvious, "he likes me, he likes me not" to the less obvious, "He asked me to join him and his coworkers for drinks at the pub, he just asked me out on a date!"

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Being Intentional about Maintaining my Hair

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As a happy go lucky student in university with more time on my hands and little spare change for salons, I minimized my relaxer touch-ups. I instead invested in some good hair products and dedicated some good hours giving my hair love. My hair thanked me for it, and got almost to my bra strap, and for long after that, I was one of those people who get their egos stroked at the salon by new stylists and when other people gush over the blackness and fullness of my hair.

But I lost that good habit when I got into the adult world, there was less time and more money, and what I thought were good salons. It wasn't long before I found my way back to monthly relaxer schedules and I spent less and less time giving my hair its needed nutrition. Coupled with my share of hair accidents over the years, mostly caused by product misuse - relaxers being the worst culprit- my hair got stuck at shoulder length.

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Monalisa Chinda on Being a Single and Working Mother

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Monalisa Chinda is one actress that I knew first from all the publicity surrounding her personal life, even before I saw any of her movies. Since then, I have seen and liked her in Kiss and Tell, among a few other movies. And recently, she's in the news for all the right things, she lends her celebrity status to charities close to her heart, and she is a producer behind a well received TV series.

More and more, I get the sense that she a grounded and ambitioous young woman with her heart in the right place. In this interview with 9jamom.com , she shares more about herself and being a mother and acting professional. When asked if she had words of advice to single working mothers, she said,

Everything comes in stages, have a lot of patience, be flexible and don’t be a martyr. As a single working mother, I know it gets hard sometimes to raise a child on your own. Through your busy schedule, it can be easy to forget that you are not alone when you have so much to deal with. Building your own support system gives you a shoulder to lean on when it comes to all the things that come with raising a child. It’s great to surround yourself with like-minded people — or people you trust to be involved in your everyday life.  In my case, I’m incredibly lucky to have family and close friends who are always ready to help as needed.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How I Cook Ogbono Soup with Okro

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Ogbono is a taboo for Asaba people, according to my dad. My dad was a traditional man, though a Christian, and I loved that he kept us grounded to our culture. The story goes that back in the days, Asaba people could eat whatever they liked including Ogbono. Most of them followed traditional religion, and were worshippers of Onishe, a river goddess.

Onishe treasured purity, and her color was white, which meant that all her followers only came to her shrine wearing akwa ocha. On a certain day, a man ate Ogbono, unknowningly stained his clothes and still came to worship. Onishe was not happy, and banned the drawy soup ingredient since it made her worshippers sloppy and dirty. Since then, a lot of people discarded it from the menu.

We grew up in Enugu, but my parents, from their own parents, were used to not cooking or eating Ogbono. My mum made her okro soup with enough okro and vegetable to thicken the sauce. So ogbono was not something I was used to until I went to boarding house, where without it, our soups would have become rivers of water with oil floating on top. Of course I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

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Blogger Lily Johnson Releases Two Singles

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Fellow blogger, Lily Johnson (real names - Ivera-Lilian Uzoamaka Ozomma-Jonn) started her journey into music in secondary school - Queen's School, Enugu - where she was known in the school choir for her rather deep Alto, and in the school for her musical performances.

Lily Johnson shares her thoughts and opinions on women issues on her blog I Am ...Lily Johnson, and also has a collection of short stories 'In Blood and Soul published by WSIC Ebooks Ltd.

Lily Johnson says she is inspired by the works of Tracy Chapman, Onyeka Onwenu, Anita Baker, The late Tina Onwudiwe, Toni Braxton, and Aretha Franklin. She is currently working on her debut album and her singles ‘Playboy’ and ‘Kilode’ are currently enjoying airplay on radio stations across the country. You can listen to them below and check out the artwork for her singles.

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Transatlantic Sweethearts by TJ Benson

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"I’am standing on the Nicon Hilton hotel now, on top of the parapet roof overlooking Abuja skyline…” Stephanie Nwuba babbled hurriedly fighting the chill that came with increase in altitude as she looked for the best position to place the mobile phone on her hand. She had just closed from work and was hence wearing only a silk purple blouse and a skirt, no match for the lingering harmattan cold. “Where are you?”

“I’m on the top of the Chrysler building…” came the muffled male voice on the other end of the line. “I’m guessing you just came back from work?”

“How did you know?” she squealed. “You’re not back are you?”

“No!” he chuckles. “Its to 12 over here and since the time difference between Nigeria and Newyork is 6 hours, I guessed it would be about 6…right?”

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Side Effects Preview and $50 Giveaway

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One method I use to select the movies I watch at the cinema is by paying attention to the trailers that run before the films, and that was how I saw the Side Effects preview last year. I was immediately intrigued because it was by Steven Soderbergh, one of those directors I respect, and who made the Ocean's Eleven series. I have also watched Out of Sight, Solaris, and Erin Brockovich so I know to watch out for his movies.

He also directed Contagion which we had seen the previous year. Contagion did not disappoint, with its intricate plot, the disturbing realism of the story line, and the awesome performance of the actors, and I feel Side Effects will be somehow alike. Contagion was about a disease that spread so quickly even before investigators realized where it originated from. It reminded me of AIDS, Ebola, SARS, or worse.

When the preview for Side Effects started, I took it as another romantic thriller until some of the characters began to fling pills around and then the title took on a whole new meaning.

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10 Pointers About Discussing Sex with your Partner

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The most common sex issue faced by otherwise happily married couples? Not surprisingly, it’s the "not enough” factor. Couples often end up bemused and confused by a marriage that’s dimmed in sexual intensity or frequency.

The fact is, "Sexual issues in otherwise good marriages are often resolvable.” But—and you knew this was coming, right?!—you have to talk…to your spouse…about sex. Here are some pointers about discussing the subject with a less-than-talkative hubby.

1. Don’t broach the subject in bed.
Right before or after sex, when you’re naked, is not the best time to examine faults or dissect performance, says Sharky. "It’s when we’re at our most vulnerable.” Plus, your bedroom, and certainly your bed, should be a sanctuary, not a place to air grievances. Instead, choose a pleasant but neutral place, such as a restaurant that’s romantic enough to be relaxing (and noisy enough for a reasonable amount of privacy!).

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Back to The Future Giveaway - Make a Choice

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The Back to the Future Giveaway hop features books in the past and future. No present day. Anything dealing with time-travel to historical times are welcome. Unless it's a historical setting where they travel to present time. Historical Novels and Futuristic novels are also welcome even with no time travel.

My Gift will be a book that is already out and which fits the description above. One Winner will receive their book(s) of choice(not more than $10) shipped from Book Depository. Only people living in countries on the Free Shipping List are eligible. To enter, you must be a follower of my blog through GFC. Then, leave a comment below with a way I can contact you.

Comments close Midnight January 28, 2013 and I'll send the winner an email. Here's wishing you all a great year of reading and good luck!

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Date Night Movie Review - Les Miserables

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Right off, I'll tell you that I loved Les Miserable, so expect some gushing. I never knew much about the musical until Susan Boyle won the British Xfactor with the song. I heard it from a musical based on a 19th century book by Victor Hugo and lost much interest. After watching, I'm kicking myself. What the actors brought to the screen was amazing, Fantine's suffering, different kinds of love - given, taken, and unrequited, revolution, passionate people dying for their beliefs, the works!

Les Miserables at its core is a story of good versus evil, on a personal, individual and national scale. We get to ask ourselves, can an evil man become good? How can a good man be so hateful? At what point do we forgive? How much gray do we have between Black and White, and what is the use of walking the straight and narrow line without love?

Javert (played by Russell Crowe) could not let down his duty toward Valjean (Hugh Jackman) even though he sees as over the years the ex-criminal transforms his life. For him, an officer of the law – there is no gray, the law must be upheld by all means. A couple of times in the movie, he walks the edge of a precipice secure in uprightness. When he is forced to consider other attributes to life, it is the most difficult thing for him.

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Obama Sworn in, Michelle Debuts New Hairstyle

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So our president has just been sworn in for the next four years, and Michelle Obama is also fully showing off her new bangs, and it's looking good on her too. Congrats to their family, and I hope this term moves America even further than the past one. Good luck Obama.
President Barack Obama took the official oath for his second term on Sunday at the White House in a small, private ceremony that set a more subdued tone compared to the historic start of his presidency four years ago.

Gathered with his family in the Blue Room on the White House's ceremonial main floor, Obama put his hand on a Bible and recited the 35-word oath that was read to him by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts.

Obama hugged his wife Michelle and said, "Thank you," after she congratulated him at the swearing-in.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Facebook May Offer Dating Options with Graph Search

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Facebook recently launched a new tool called "Graph Search" as a replacement for its current Search functionality which only searches people, pages, groups and some posts. This new search feature will let anyone find people and maybe connect with them by searching through their profile information and the interests they have added on Facebook. As usual, Facebook is covering their behind, only those things a user has left as public will be returned in the search results.

When they announced the Facebook Graph Search, the focus was on how Graph search will help Facebook users in getting recommendations from your friends and friends of friends when you are looking for say a doctor, a plumber or electrician, a particular product, book TV show. The tool is in beta now and anyone can try it free, here.

When it goes live though, I won't be surprised if Facebook users capitalize on the search graph to find people for dating or stalking. Think of search terms that fit a specific dating profile, such as "Friends of friends who are single" "Single men 30 - 35 who live in New York," or "women under 30 in Lagos." Hmmm...
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Manti Te'o and the Internet Girlfriend that Never Was

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Or how to avoid being the victim of an internet love scam. Manti Te'o is an Americam college football star who allegedly was a victim of an internet love scam. In US parlance, it is called Catfish - the title of a 2010 movie that brought a similar incident of online dating trickery to the big screen, and a 2012 MTV show of the same name.

This is a situation whereby one enters a long-term relationship with someone they meet online, without ever meeting them in real life. Only as it turns out, their lover is made up, or not who they say they are. This is what happened to Manti Te'o, and in his case, he dated a lady, who then later 'died'. There is more to the story, which is why the football player is making the news, but I want to look at the Catfish angle.

As most of you will know, I met Atala on the internet, we were in the UK, but in the later part, he was in the US. For over a year, we both participated in an online community, gradually getting to know each other, before we began to exchange private and personal messages. When we did decide to pursue a romantic relationship, one thing I insisted on was that we had to meet before anyone really started catching deep feelings.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Banky W - On Looking for Love, Cooking and Marriage

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Banky W's full name is Olubankole Wellington, and he is a Nigerian musician. We were discussing the other day about domestic Nigerian men, whether they exist at all, and when they'll begin to admit they also enjoy cooking and stuff. I came across these responses to different interview questions by Banky W, one of my very few Nigerian male celebrity crushes, and as it turns out, he's a real domestic Nigerian man.

BTW, anyone who knows him should please pass on the message to him that his song, Strong Thing, always gives me life as they say. The recent Yes/No seems like the prequel, and I'm liking it too. I will feature that one of these days. In the meantime, enjoy...

We’ve heard about your cooking skills, where did you get them from?
I love food, my love for it is immeasurable, and because of that, I get angry when I don’t get the right kind of food that I want. So I just felt like I could do this cooking thing myself and started looking at recipes on TV, on the web, and then just started cooking!

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Five Characteristics Men Want in a Wife

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Everyday, I aim to be a better person, friend, and importantly too, partner and lover to Atala, and I can say honestly that this article by Steven Zangrillo is on point for me on all scores. I want to also add that it cuts both ways, women also hope and look for these same qualities in the man they intend to spend the rest of their life with. Read and let's discuss...

Listen, it’s not easy for men. We understand that it’s a two-way street, this dating thing. Tried and true, we young professionals hit the bars, clubs, gyms, restaurants and other various hot spots perceived to be breeding ground for potential girlfriends and spouses. Some of us have even taken the plunge into the e-dating world. We come up empty handed more often than you would think.

Maybe that isn’t surprising to you, but it’s routine to us. All too often, the cute girl on the stairmaster ends up being nothing more than just that – a cute girl. You see, we have a natural tendency to judge (harshly), and often build up our own barriers against accepting a woman into our lives past the first few dates. That said, we do have a few important criteria. Below are five things men look for in a wife:

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Boiled Plantain with Afang Vegetable Sauce

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This is a picture heavy post since I assume most people know how to boil food? This is a simple meal using some leftover soup from my Afang recipe. I love unripe plantain because I tend to stay away from fried foods and ripe ones mostly lend themselves to dodo, their sugary sweet taste means they don't play too nice with most sauces, in my opinion anyway.

I fell in love with that tangy [Atala calls it bland] taste of unripe plantains after a family member became diabetic and had to adjust their menu. It makes sense to me in the well being journey not to wait till you're sick before taking measures to be healthy. So I look at the menu of diabetics or those with high blood pressure and borrow a leaf.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dreaming of Books Giveaway - For Days and A Night

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One of the first books I read this year, and which I'm featuring today is by a fellow blogger and writer, Seun Odukoya. And because the book is free, everyone is a winner.

Click this link to Download For Days and a Night

"With a quirky worldview and a lovely mix of naive and badly-experienced dark humor," For Days and A Night is a collection of short stories, a poem and some candid personal opinions – basically Seun Odukoya's perspective on some general issues, especially romance and relationships. It is his first published book.

To support the author, you can also follow Seun's blog http://seunodukoya.wordpress.com/ and his Twitter @seunodukoya.

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The Burden of an Unhealthy Marriage by Nena Ndioma

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My former husband came over to my place about a week ago for a ten-day visit. He hadn’t seen the children in almost two years. My sister thinks I’m crazy to let him stay at my place during this visit. She’s convinced I need therapy to help me figure out why I have this need to be so ‘nice’ to my ex-husband.

"I don’t think I’m being ‘nice’ though, necessarily," I say to my sister. "I’m just being ‘me.’"

This divorce thing is new for me and new for him. If there’s a manual on how to do it ‘right,’ I haven’t read it yet. I’m just taking things one day at a time and doing what feels right to me at any given time.

When the marriage was in the throes of death (we were informally separated at the time), things got to a point where it became critical for me to have him find his own accommodation when he visited the children. Back then, I really didn’t like the sort of person I had become as a result of the downward spiral of the marriage. I had become a master sleuth.

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My Afang Soup Recipe with Okazi and Spinach

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This was my first time of cooking Afang soup, ever, and I'm very happy at how it turned out. On one of our irregular trips to the African store, I picked up Utazi for my Nsala and when I saw a dried vegetable pack labelled Okazi, I also picked it up. I knew it was used in Afang soup, I had eaten it before and remembered it was a bit similar to Edika Iikong soup. I had made the latter before and thought, hey, I can make Afang with that recipe too.

To give kudos to whom it is due though, this would have been a disaster if not for coming across Eya's Afang recipe post before I made my soup. She mentioned that her Afang was pounded/ground. I was confused, but almost overlooked it. Her Afang was fresh and leafy, while mine was dry, store-packed and already cut. Still, that stuck.

Thank God for the internet. When I was ready to make mine, I googled ground Afang, and up popped some other Nigerian recipe sites. One specifically mentioned that when you buy dry, cut, store-packed Afang, you had to soak it in hot water for at least an hour, and then blend like a smoothie. And so the cooking began, with my adapted recipe below...

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On the 10 Commandments to (Single) Women

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I agree with a lot of what has been listed which seems directed to single women. My thoughts on each commandment below...

1. Dont be in a hurry to move out of ur parents house.
Depends. If you live and work in the same city as your parents, AND they are respect you as an adult woman, it makes sense to live with them and save your money. If there are better job or study opportunities elsewhere, or your parents keep treating you like a child at 30, then move. You can seek out flatmates that share your values if you're not comfortable living alone.


2. Dont wait for a man before you start living. You can live a fulfilled life as a single woman.
She nails this one. I doubt this can be said often enough. As much as I am a romantic and believe firmly in marriage at the right time and to the right person, I agree that fulfilment lies in the individual, and so even when you're single, you can take joy and pride in your life and set goals that give you a sense of accomplishment along the way.
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Love and the Confusion of Persistence by Atala

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I recall a conversation I had with someone I know about how she met her husband. According to her, she was rather dismissive of him, and it didn't look like she would give him a second chance. But fortunately for him, he persisted - and she ended up seeing something in him which she obviously didn't see the first time. Whatever she saw, she must really have liked, because they're now married.

The conversation did make me wonder about the virtues of persistence. Should a man should be persistent or not in chasing a woman? It's fair to say that "faint heart never won fair lady", as the saying goes, and as the experience I relate above indicates?

 However, persistence can shade into harassment if the woman has made it clear in no uncertain terms that she is not interested in the man. So the rules seem to be simple - chase, but if she says no, back off. Right?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Expected Birth Month out for the Royal Baby

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Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting a summer baby. “Their Royal Highnesses, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in July,” said a statement released by the Palace on Monday, with Kate believed to be around 13 to 14 weeks pregnant.

The update confirms that Kate is expecting just one baby – after speculation that she might be carrying twins due to her extreme morning sickness. The statement also noted that Kate Middleton has largely recovered from the acute morning sickness, noting, “The Duchess’ condition continues to improve since her stay in hospital last month.”

Congratulations to the couple, I'm glad Kate is feeling better.

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My First Homemade Two-Strand Twists

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One way I have learnt to help my hair grow, apart from using hair grow products, is to put it in protective styles. I am one of those people who has a funny habit of picking at my hair, and it is worse when in an afro. My fingers seek out the tangles, multiple and single strand knots, and before I know it, break and pull off the hair. No one has to tell me this doesn't help so I usually put my hair in corn-rows.

But that was getting too repetitive, and my hair has now also become so long and full that breaiding it has become a arm-breaking chore. I had to find another way, and I did. Several blogs mentioned two strand twists and after watching my stylist do it a few times, and seeing some tutorial videos on Youtube, I decided to give it a try.

Two strand twists are surprisingly easy to pull off. After adding cream to two sections of hair, you twist them around each other till you get to the tips. If your hair is as curly as mine, the ends will hug each other and ensure the strands don't spring apart. The pictures are of my homemade twists after some days and I rocked them for a couple more weeks.

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