After months of planning, postponing, going up and down, being that annoying girl invading strangers’ personal space to invite them to Natural in Paradise, the D-day finally rolled around. Though I was really excited, I was also super duper nervous right up until the time I had to speak. I’m VERY happy to tell you guys that Natural in Paradise was a success, and I’m sure our guests agree. :)
If you’re new to the blog, Natural in Paradise was a natural hair meet-up in Calabar, organised by Natural Nigerian and me. We convened at Bay’s Bar, Felix Nsemo Drive, Diamond Hill. It was a different experience being at the meet-up as an organiser.
Sorry to disappoint you a little bit but long story short, I had camera trouble on that day of all days! :( Thankfully, NN took a lot of really great photographs. The few you see here are the photos I managed to take with my phone. Keep your eyes on naturalnigerian.com for the good stuff, and when she posts, I’ll update this post with a link to it.
A very special shout out to our vendors, our speakers, our giveaway sponsors Jessicurl & Midas Naturals, and every single person who helped spread the word, who helped to make this happen! The people at Bay’s Bar & Lounge were really helpful. Our beautiful attendees came through in their numbers, and were such a great crowd! It wasn’t one-sided at all. Thank you :)
We were ready to start at 1:30, but because we are Africans lol, and because it rained heavily for a bit, people arrived late and we started at just a little past 3. But from then on, it was good.
My girls Iby and F were stationed at the door, helping to take people’s contact information as they arrived. Every registered attendee got a sample bag from Jessicurl.
I keep telling my friend Lu that she should go to the Big Brother house and win $300,000 for us. She has this really special, warm, radiating personality, and she came to Calabar for the weekend to handle the mic for us. She was a great host and really helped break the ice. The meet-up kicked off with sharing hair stories. Runyi’s twist out got loads of compliments, so in addition to sharing her hair story, she explained how she styled her hair. Icheni loves the Maximum Hydration Method and her poppin’ curls were on display to prove it. The storytelling had to be interrupted, not because people had run out of stories, but because we had to start with the presentations.
I spoke first, about ‘Healthy Hair on a Budget’. Thankfully, this went well, because every time I tried to practice, I felt rather meh lol. Ama Ettetim of Jadhiel took the floor next, sharing some beauty tips, using one of our attendees Gracelyn as a model.
Then, we went on a break. We shopped, talked, and lots of selfies were taken. A crew from EbonyLife TV was there to cover the meet too. I don’t know when it’ll be on TV yet though. When I do, I’ll let you know. :)
After the break, we went back up for Part 2. Asari Anam of Zaron Calabar gave a makeup tutorial, and she was very funny. Dr. Agility Ihesie all the way from Uyo spoke next, about Causes of Hair Loss. She’s a doctor, so she went IN. Really thorough. If you’re having any issues with your hair, like hair loss or scalp issues, don’t stop on the internet. Most bloggers are not experts, we’re just sharing our experiences. There’s a lot of science behind these things, and by seeking a medical opinion, you aren’t overreacting.
Natural Nigerian was our final speaker. She shared her regimen, her hair journey, and spoke about the natural life; about managing your expectations, and being ready to accept YOUR natural, however it turns out. She reminded all present that healthy hair is the aim, and that it is never okay to feel superior to others because of the way you’ve chosen to wear your hair. (We cannot say this enough!)
After her talk, by random number selection, we gave away tubs of the very lovely Midas Naturals Whipped Shea Butter to 4 lucky people and with that, it was a wrap.
Though I have now left Calabar, I’m hoping we could do this again next year! Let’s see how it goes ;)
Again, I apologise for the quality of the pictures. The “official” pictures will be up on naturalnigerian.com, soon!