Go to NOLA and…

1. Just GO!

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If y’all (yes, y’all. Because, y’all need to know that I have just returned from the South!) are like me, then you suffer from sporadic wanderlust. Always have. And like me, the only vacations that you have had in your short life have been with family – so probably nothing too adventurous. I don’t remember when NOLA got on my bucket list, but it did and it is so worth it to shell out that flight and accommodation money and go, go, go! The below lists my top experiences in the last five days. Of course there are more things than listed to do, so make Lonely Planet your travel buddy and don’t be afraid to wander the neighborhoods with little to no tourist action!

 

2. Stay in Faubourg Marigny

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This is a quiet, charming neighborhood that is close to the French Quarter and very pleasing to the senses. I went on a picture taking spree of the houses in this neighborhood. They reminded me of some houses in my village in Nigeria, sans mud walls. If these structures existed in Lagos, the inhabitants would get some serious side eyes from Lagosians. But alas, I find them absolutely gorgeous.

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3. Take a stroll on Royal Street

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Listen, save your transportation money for your airport trip and walk, walk, walk. It is a great way to burn the calories from all the eating. And trust me, if you like food, there will be a lot of eating. By walking, you get to discover hidden gems that you may not have heard of or read about in the guides. This is a great way to find something special about the city that you like for yourself. Ours was Royal street. We had no idea that there was a large art presence in this place. Music – oh yes,we were ready for tons! But the arts here is amazing! There are rows and rows of galleries on Royal street in the French Quarter and they have an open door policy. And air conditioning too.

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The gas-powered lamps were my fave

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4. Peek into Bourbon Street

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… and then run away! Lol. This place was too much for me abeg. All the doors to the bars and clubs on this street are open and blaring music into the little street that is Bourbon, pretty much all day. You can walk this street and drink at the same time, so yes, it can get stinky and disgusting. There is a bar here that has a reclined chair where one can sit and get shots thrown into your mouth by a very breastful bartender, who then shoves your head into her bosoms and motorboards your face. She spins you around and repeats. Shots, motorboard. And then when you walk a little further, you just might catch a woman flashing her boobs to some bead wielding individuals on a balcony, while they cheer and throw down beads for her. Yup, this is how you earn beads, innit. On Saturday night, you might find a couple of Christian missionaries wielding crosses, trying to chat and win souls for God.

5. Experience the phenomenon that is Windex Pete (“Google me”)

Windex Pete says I look like Angela Bassett. And then he proceeds to get comfy next to us, outside of the oldest bar in America (Lafitte’s). He claims to have met a bunch of celebrities and seems to have some proof of this. Windex Pete is something of a celebrity, if Google is anything to go by. He stands by his corner by the bar, with his washboard slung around his neck and plays “anything you want” for a fee, of course. After establishing that we were not giving him any money, he proceeded to give us an autographed photo of himself. Lol!

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6. Have a Killer Po-boy

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Oh yes, people, there is some serious seafood in this city. There are also these sandwiches called Po-boys. One evening, we went on a hunt for a place called ‘Killer Po-boys’. Literally a hole in a wall, this place is really hidden, with no sign anywhere outside. I think the hunt is part of the thrill so I will not give away the exact location. Let Google Maps guide you, and if you are lucky, you will meet a heavily bearded man outside the location where Google maps takes you and he will ask you, “what does your phone tell you?” And you will say, “my phone lies”. And he will chuckle and say, “show me your ID.”

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Jollof rice-wanna-be jambalaya

7. Catch the brass band kids on the street corner in Frenchmen

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These kids sound even better at night, when they bust out tunes like ‘Sexual Healing’ to a dancing crowd at the street corner. They know how good they are, which is why they have the balls to set up shop on a street that is filled with bars and restaurants offering sweet live music across genres. You might also find them at the end of Bourbon in the evening.

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8. View and buy local art at the artmarket on Frenchmen

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My attempt at photography at the artmarket

These guys begin to sell at 7 pm everyday of the week in this space that looks like a parking lot. There is so much art here and so much versatility. From electricians turned copper ring makers (if you know me, you know I spent all my time at this stall trying on rings), to architects turned musicians turned engineers turned painters, selling art that is a fusion of all these skills.

9. Follow a second line parade on Sunday

If you’re lucky, you’ll be in town on Super Sunday and catch the biggest second line parade with something of a “battle of the bands” going on. Otherwise, just follow the sound of New Orleans in a procession that is filled with dancing, stepping, club attires, and lots and lots of music. The history of second line is intriguing and you can read about it here.

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Caught up with him later in the day. He is a real Indian chief. He makes these costumes and believes that there is a spiritual meaning behind his costumes and the music that accompanies him.

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10. Allow your inner bourgeois to dine at GW Fins

This is one of those restaurants with a dress code and little plated portions. Apparently, men have to wear collared shirts (or polo t-shirts). If you come without a collar, they give you a polo t-shirt to wear. Lol! BUT, the seafood here is great! It’s their specialty and they do it oh so well. So if you get tired of the fried seafood that is flying everywhere in every other restaurant in the city, and your palette wants sea food with popping flavours and none of that fried crust, this place will fix you up (and drain your wallet) real nice.

11. Find Tulane University and take in the campus

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Beaded tree seen on the Tulane campus

The St. Charles streetcar can take you here from Canal street. But if there is construction, just hop on a bus. It is an absolutely beautiful campus, with grand buildings, some of which resemble castles. The residential buildings in this neighbourhood are a sight to see as well.

12. Go to Treme

Treme is the oldest African-American settlement in the United States. There is SO much history here and walking leisurely around this community, you will find hidden gems in the locals and spots that no travel guide can lead you to.

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Brass band playing at mass. St. Augustine catholic church. The first church where free people of colour could worship.

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13. Take a day trip to a plantation on River Road

Not getting to do this is my only regret from this trip. Planning ahead would have helped a lot. But these plantations look picturesque and the tours promise some sort of reenactment that I was really looking forward to.

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White Linen Night

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Supreme Court of Louisiana

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LOL! This is juju

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LOVE ME ONLY!

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St. Louis Cathedral.

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Jackson Square

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The other side of St. Louis cathedral. I saw the shadow before the statue and I thought this was an apparition!

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How cute?

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Surprising fireworks that went on for 20 minutes.

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Little Souvenirs from the Frenchmarket

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New Orleans is a city with a lot of history. We went into the jazz archives at Tulane and happened to eavesdrop on a conversation that included Captain Joseph Jones’ grandson-in-law. He had brought some historical documents from the Jones’ house (names of the boys that lived in the Colored Waif home for boys, where Louis Armstrong learnt to play) which he had carried around with him for years. He said it has been difficult to get anyone interested in doing much about this piece of history. It is a tourist destination for very good reason. But one need not do the stereotypical. It is really easy to make New Orleans your own and love it for yourself. So, if you have been on the fence about visiting, I suggest you take the plunge and add it to your list. And then go!

– MeeMee

Β  xx.

 

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This Saturday, The First Kinky Apothecary Pop Up Salon!

The Kinky Apothecary have teamed up with A Whitespace Lagos and as a collaboration for their annual BIG60 festivities, they will be having the very first Kinky Apothecary Pop Up Salon next Saturday, December 20th!

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Not just a hair salon (where you can choose from a variety of quick hair styles: two strand twists with or without added marley hair, twistouts, braidouts, updos or even crochet braids), you will have the opportunity to take care of every aspect of getting ready for a wedding or night out with beauty treatments like threading, lashes and even gele tying from Lola Maja and the Sacred Beauty team.

You can also get a mani-pedi or even a henna tattoo, all while you enjoy a complimentary cocktail (or 4) courtesy of Cointreau! And of course, no BIG60 event is complete without a quick trip to the photo booth on the way out to show off your new look! Oh, and product prices will be discounted all day!!

Now pay attention to the important bit: ALL hair and Sacred Beauty services must be booked in advance, so drop us an email to orders@thekinkyapothecary.com or call us on 017654546 (Saturday 10am-4pm; Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm) for information on all services offered on the day and prices, and to secure your place!

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You can also enter to win a jar of Whipped Batter every day for the next 12 days, in the “12 Days Of Christmas” promo on Instagram. Don’t miss out, follow @kinkyapothecary and join in!

What do you say guys? Sounds like fun! πŸ™‚

Love,

AB,

xx

Introducing: Hey Emi!

Hey beauts!

I grew up somewhat a reader of children’s books – Enid Blyton is the name that immediately comes to mind when I think of children’s books and even animated adventure series. But you’d agree with me when I say I could not in any way relate to the characters in these books. Fair-skinned, straight and silky-haired, going on adventures in the mountains and the woods. A few years ago, though, I’ve stumbled on animations with black characters – mainly African – on youtube. Also, last week, while babysitting, one of the children wanted to watch Goldilocks and the three bears and I was super surprised to see that the version he had been watching had black characters with curly, coily hair, and Caribbean accents.

So, anyway, I was quite giddy to hear about Hey Emi!

Emi Cover ImageHey Emi is created by Tina Olajide, whose inspiration was borne from the lack of brown-skinned heroines for little girls to look up to. According to Tina, “Emi is a creative seven-year-old girl with a BIG imagination and in this book she describes all the cool and quirky things she likes most about her hair. From the shape and movement of her hair to detangling single strand knots, Emi’s unique point of view will put a smile on your face.

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How adorable is she?! And that hurr! I really like the illustration – kudos to the illustrator, Courtney Bernard.

To get your hands on this one-of-a-kind book for a little girl or boy you love and even for the little child inside of you, check out Amazon.comΒ and Amazon Europe. Also, visit Emi’s websiteΒ for up-to-date information, to sign up for newsletters and to ask her anything!

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So, tell me, what do you guys think about Hey Emi!

Enjoy the weekend, beauts, and stay safe and jolly!

– Mee Mee

xx.

Le Revitalize Rendezvous 3!

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How time flies!

It hasn’t been a year since I wasΒ at the first Lumo Naturals Salon meet & greet, Le Revitalize Rendezvous, and the third edition of the event is here again. It’s close. Close close. Yep, like 2 weeks from now close. πŸ™‚

Here’s what Lumo Naturals manager, Farida has to say:

We, at Lumo Naturals appreciate all the support you have shown us these past months since our reopening. So, to say thank you and also engage in a relaxing environment, we have decided to organize another meet and greet event with the theme;
Β Why don’t you DIY?!
In recent time, there has been some argument as to whether natural hair is actually more affordable to manage or not. We think it is. Especially if you arm yourself with the right information. So, we’ll be sharing some DIY recipes and also some tips on how to maximize the products you already have in your hair-robe.
It is as usual, going to be a fun, relaxing event and we will have all your favorite vendors, cocktail hour, DIY recipes, hair talk, discount for club card holders and of course, FREEBIES!!!
Where?
At our salon; Suite G8, Mbouty plaza, Marcus Garvey street, off 5th avenue, behind Emirates Hotel, Gwarinpa.
Time?
11am-6pm
Date?
30th August, 2014
Discounted services will be:
1. Ayurvedic treatments
2. Mud/clay wash
3. ALL rinses
I personally look forward to meeting you and your gorgeous tresses. Come out, let’s inspire each other, pamper our hair and share information to grow this sisterhood.
Thank you,
Farida

Hair, Cocktails, Freebies, Sistas, more hair… quite a few of my favourite things in one afternoon! You Abuja ladies have fun! πŸ˜‰

If you’re in Calabar, do not feel left out! Our own is coming! Natural Nigerian and yours truly are bringing you Natural in Paradise, Calabar’s first natural hair meet up on September 20! There’ll be more about this really soon (watch this space), but if you’ll be joining us (I hope you will!) kindly take a few minutes to indicate your interest by RSVP’ing on Eventbrite over here. πŸ˜€

Love,

AB,

xx

Save the date: Natural in Paradise!

Big Ass Afro

Hello everyone!!!

Special announcement!

In collaboration with Natural Nigerian,Β I’m happy to invite you all to Calabar’s first natural hair meet-up, ‘Natural in Paradise’! πŸ™‚

Join us at Bay’s Bar & Lounge on Saturday, September 20, 2014 for healthy hair talk, natural hair products, networking & lady bonding!

Save the date, this will be so much fun!

We will be sharing more details soon, but kindly RSVP on Eventbrite over here, if you will be coming. This isn’t a condition for entry, it’d just help us have an idea of how many people to expect. Reblog, share, repost!Β Please share this with your friends in the area!! Thank you. πŸ™‚

For enquiries regarding Vendor stalls, Sponsorship, Giveaways, and Advertising, please email: nn@naturalnigerian.com

Yes, all hair types are welcome!

Love,

AB,

xx


Bay’s Bar & Lounge,
Felix Nsemo Drive,
Diamond Hill,
Calabar.