Go to Barbados and…

Travel+Barbados+NYC

1. Have a best friend who nudges you to Just Go!

In November, AB both introduced me to SecretFlying and showed me that I could go to Barbados for a sweet deal. I thought long and hard about it for all of one minute and hit that button! Continue reading

#NHIC2015: What Happened Here

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On Sunday, November 1, 2015, professionals, leaders, veterans, aspirers, enthusiasts of the natural hair industry came together in Baltimore for what I believe will historically be the first natural hair industry convention! It was AWE-filled and I spent 9 hours and everyday since feeling very inspired. Beauts, we DO have an industry that is alive and the goal now is to sustain and grow this industry into its full potential. This is not a passing fad. Continue reading

Weekend Chit-Chat + Slightly Unrelated Giveaway

Hello beautiful people! How goes it?

It’s a good day for me here in Lagos, not bad at all for a Monday morning!

My hair is in two cornrows- goddess braids abi crown braids, according to Youtube 🙂

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What did you get up to over the weekend? I spent Sunday resting and moving slowly lol, trying to recover from the busyness of the days before. Continue reading

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

  xx.

 

An Afternoon at Nature’s Gentle Touch Hair Institute

Hey y’all!

About a week ago (a week agoooo) I attended a meet and greet thing- media parley if you’re fancy- at the Nature’s Gentle Touch Hair Institute on Muri Okunola street in V/I.

If you’re Nigerian, you’ve probably been aware of this brand for a really long time. Nature’s Gentle Touch is what they call a personal style brand, from Recare Limited. Recare manufactures in Nigeria and South Africa, and have been on the continent for a while. As a relaxer company, I feel like their main focus or main demographic of people who use their products is women with relaxed hair they have a brand for the man dem too, it’s called Nonstop.

I did not know what to expect, it was my first time at a “media parley.”

There were 4 guys and the rest of us were women, about 20-something people in total. Most of the people present were journalists from newspapers and magazines, and then a quarter of us write blogs.

The point of the event was to (re)introduce the brand to the media, and I like how it went.

First was the ice-breaking led by their PR manager, Mrs Toyin Adepegba. Everyone had to stand up, say their name and describe their personal style in one word.

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The CEO Mr Ramesh Hullum talked about the brand generally from a marketing point- and after this, the Field Educational Manager, Mr Daniel Komlan spoke about “Ethnic Hair and Its Challenges”. Most of the other attendees were press people, just doing their jobs, but I have a good feeling that reached them personally, because he spoke specifically about common problems the women admitted to struggling with, and he tried to break it down- structure of hair, regimen building, all that. Altogether, a good talk. I didn’t agree with some things that were said, but then again, it wasn’t a hair meet-up. *Kanye shrug*

Finally, the Operations Manager, Mr. Daniel Anim-Appiah introduced the products. They talked about their customer care policy, and on this front, they look really good. For a brand that has been here for so long, it’s great that they are investing in  the country by manufacturing here and also training beauticians at the Institute.If you’re dissatisfied with a certain product, you could call them and they’ll replace it, or they could invite you to their salon, and apply it to your hair the right way, their words. They also said that their products are designed to tackle specific problems and are best bought as systems. Like, don’t just buy the shampoo from the Anti-Breakage line, get all four products. Marketing gimmick? I don’t know, I’ve never used their products before. But this is what was said and they sounded alright, very confident, ready to please.

Slightly unrelated, and I know this is something most people don’t care about but, I have a problem with that word “Ethnic” especially when it’s used in relation to black people, hair or culture. Generally speaking, if you have to fill out your Ethnicity on a form, the options are usually Black, White, Asian, etc. I don’t know why black things, black hair and such should be referred to as Ethnic, especially not in Africa. For the purpose of drawing a distinction between our hair and other hair, I believe African Hair is just fine. I know I’m one of few people who are bothered by things like this so I didn’t bother bringing it up. 🙂

Before your hair is done at the Institute, you have to see a consultant first. As part of the programme, I volunteered to have my hair looked at by Deola, the consultant. It was nice, and there was a mini scanning machine that amplifies your scalp and hair strands. That was really cool.

During the scan

During the scan

She checked my hair for density, strand thickness, porosity and tested for elasticity too. According to the results, my strands are medium thickness, normal porosity, 2/3 in elasticity and overall medium density. Super interesting because I’ve always felt I had low porosity, fine strands (they are way thinner than thread) and medium-high density. She also asked me questions about my regimen, last manipulative style, and also lifestyle questions.

Final diagnosis was Healthy Hair (Yay!) She also confirmed that my ends are raggedy with some splits, and advised me to get a trim, which I definitely will. I have been wanting a trim for a while now. Clearly, dusting is just not enough. My procrastination is not going to get in the way this time, because I got a free salon appointment at the Institute, to do anything I want. ^.^

Supermodel Oluchi has been the face of the brand for years.

Supermodel Oluchi has been the face of the brand for years.

We all got free appointment cards in our goody bags, and Hair products too. In my bag, I had the Herbal blend trio- Shampoo, Conditioner and Cholesterol Deep Conditioning
Treatment.

Freebies!

Freebies!

The Ingredients aren’t great (sulfates, mineral oil) “Herbalblend” not at all herbal but I’m definitely going to try them at least once, so you lot just wait and see.

I’m going to redeem my free appointment soon, this trim is much needed. I’ll let you guys know how my salon day with Nature’s Gentle Touch goes.

All in all, it was a good way to spend a few hours 🙂

Has your mane ever experienced Nature’s Gentle Touch? At the institute’s salon or their products? What’s your personal style in one word? Let’s talk in the comments!

Love,

AB,

xx

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Nature’s Gentle Touch Hair Institute,

209 Muri Okunola Street,

Victoria Island, Lagos.

Phone: 01 462 7442