THE PROPOSAL

A ring. A girl. A smile. Flowers. Bent knee. Marry me.

This is a story of a girl I once met several years ago in a tiny classroom full of children eager to learn. She had skin as dark as the Black Panther, plump lips and a perfect set of pearly white teeth. Her bosom was full. In case you did not notice, she would make sure you do by walking with her chest up high, arching her back.

When I first met her, I did not like her. She was loud, mean and had a bellowing voice that could wake Lazarus from the tomb. She was a bully (still denies to this date) and would constantly tease me for being skinny.

We never hit it off and after the last day of Class 8, we went our separate ways. Teenhood, boys, puberty and heartbreaks later as fate would have it, we were reunited at Moi University. I remember seeing her at the registration desk on campus and my jaw almost dropped in disbelief.

Our first expression when we saw each other was “You?? What are you doing here?” As if neither of us deserved to be there. I am not sure if we hugged or shook hands but we both faked smiles. In a new environment it was comforting to meet a familiar face but why her.

As we both continued to fake excitement to see each other, I asked her which course she is enrolling for and told me proudly with an annoying grin “Community Development”! I must have rolled my eyes because I could not imagine how a bully could end up engaged (pun intended) with anyone let alone a whole community.

Out of a possible 15,000 students with over 20 halls of residence and off campus residence, we were assigned same hostel, same floor, 5 doors away from each other. I felt my life was ruined. So now I’ll be sharing a bathroom with her and she would continue making fun of me for being skinny.

Allow me to digress. Isn’t it strange how it is ‘acceptable’ to be mocked for being skinny but if the same is applied to our well-fed fellas it suddenly becomes a ‘body-shaming’ shenanigan. Society dictates ‘an African woman should be well rounded with curves’. Bish please give us a break. To each his own.

During the first semester Alphine and I were the most naive freshmen on campus. We followed all rules to the latter and believed we might get expelled if we broke any rule on the Moi University constitution. One of the rules was that cooking in the halls of residence was prohibited. Her and I being the law abiding comrades, we did not buy any cookers and opted to be eating at the school’s mess aka cafeteria. (Lakini mbona tulikuwa washamba hivi). Cc Lorrine Waithera, Aggie Mwai.

After a few weeks of adjusting to campus life, Lorrine and Aggie blossomed to an advanced level of cooking for themselves and abandoned us in this mess (again, pun intended). Alphine and I were forced to hang out and become each others company over 3 meals a day for a whole semester. This was the turning point in our lives. I started falling in love with her personality. During our meals together I noticed we shared so many values. I mean what more could you expect from two people who came to campus following every rule of the book. I realized this girl loved rice more than life itself. Had an appetite for an army and for some reason I liked her authencity. She had a wicked sense of humour and she officially became my best friend in the whole wide world. (Puppy eyes).

Fast forward several years later, she remains the K in my life. I’ll skip the clichés of we’ve been through a lot but frankly we have. Alphine is the sister I never had. We have fought twice in our relationship and it was because of food – eggs to be specific. While I like my sunny side up raw eggs, she prefers the overcooked almost burnt crispy eggs. Food brought us together and almost separated us.

Today 16th February 2019, my best friend is getting engaged. If a few years ago someone told both of us that on this day in the midst of family and friends, Alphine will meet a man who would want her for the rest of her life, we would have laughed our bellies off. By the time this post goes up, the love of her life would have put a ring on it. She does not know this is going to happen and my heart is so full right now.

A short letter to my best friend:

Dear Alphine,

Love is a choice. Several years ago you chose to love and to be loved. You and your husband to be made a vow to commit to each other and today, today, he will bend on one knee and ask you to be his for eternity. From today, your life is going to change forever. You will not look at life with the same lens anymore. I have seen and felt the overflowing love in this relationship. I have seen how a woman ought to be respected and taken care of. Darling, I always told you, this is the one He kept for you. Take care of your love. Protect your relationship and marriage. Thank you for keeping your promise to live a happy life. I love you best friend and wish you the best engagement party ever! Let this be the beginning of a life full of God’s blessings.

And to my in-law, tunakupenda sana but just incase she loses even a strand of hair, know that we are coming for you. Hapa hapana cheza.

To be continued in the next blog post. Watch out for part two of how the proposal went down.

Lots of love.

MG.

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GOD SAID WAIT

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She happily waltzed in the room beaming with light, twirling on her toes, an imaginary halo above her head. Her eyes twinkled as she knew her life was about to change forever. She stretched her arms in front of her and looked at her long slender fingers and light complexion…something she definitely inherited from her now old and frail mother. She stared at her cuticles sticking out and chipped pink polish but could care less. Nothing else mattered.

A look in the mirror and a reflection of her plumpness satisfied her. She turned around and imagined her butt growing bigger than it already is. She arched herself sideways and held her belly…rubbed and stroked it lovingly and a little smile curved around her lips. Her eyes twinkled again. A bun in the oven. Someone to carry on her legacy…pearly whites…long fingers…light complexion…or maybe a dark mahogany of her daddy’s. She will be beautiful…

Sickness. Morning. Lunch. Evening. Midnight. Dawn. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Something was not right. Or maybe this was normal? She thought. Constant migraines, vomiting guts out. They all said it was part of the journey and will soon get better. First trimester symptoms…everyone goes through that…or not so?

“The baby’s growth rate is stunted” the doctor said. A worried look crossed her face. For the first time she felt nervous. Her previous checkup went OK. She thought about the doctor’s words and in the dimness of light, she sobbed. She could feel a certain loss. A battle between her mind and body. She wanted this child. Her body was fighting it. How could her body betray her this way? She stared at the cigarettes on his bedside…

She struggled to open her eyes. Her blocked stuffy nose from crying too much. She rushed to the bathroom almost not making it there and remnants of the little Swahili food forced its way out via her mouth. She sat on the bathroom floor and rested her head on the walls. Weakness and fatigue overtook her. A little more on the toilet bowl and she felt her esophagus burn. She unsteadily reached for the handle and flushed what was to be absorbed in her womb. She lazily scrubbed her tongue with her toothbrush trying to reach the back on her tongue and almost had another puking episode. She squished a little mouthwash to get rid of the stench before her husband came in from his night shift. He always insisted on lips in the morning, something she’s not gotten around to.

She heard him walk in and bellowed a tired good morning reaching to meet his lips with hers. She turned her head slightly away so that he pressed against the corner of her mouth. He sniffed her lovingly. “Sorry babe, was it that bad this morning?” he asked. She looked down not wanting to look at him in the eyes because she was on the verge of tears. A muffled “I’ll be OK” escaped through her trembling lips.

He reached for his cigarettes on his bedside and headed to the balcony for his normal black coffee and a stick on his hand. The smell nauseated her further and she opted to head out for a brief walk to get some fresh air.

On the ninth week her body started absorbing more food. The vomiting and headaches didn’t stop but they became less altogether. She could go about a normal day and her activities panned out well. She had lost a few pounds and her belly had gained just a little roundness. She could go a few months holding this little secret from the rest of the world.

The days looked rosier and she started imagining having a baby born in the fall. She will call her Autumn. Too corny maybe? She hadn’t done a gender check but she was almost certain she will have a little girl. Mummy and Daddy’s little princess. At that moment she could have sworn she felt the baby move.

A few days passed and things were looking up well. On the eve of Good Friday she went for her scheduled Doctor’s appointment. He examined her and she saw a frown on his face and a little shake on his head.

Her whole demeanor changed.

The world seemed to have come to a stop all of a sudden.

She saw his lips moving but could not hear a thing he was saying.

All she was thinking was why her husband wasn’t with her at that precise moment of her life.

She stiffened on her seat. Rigid. Immobile. Eyes affixed to the movement of the doctor’s mouth. Trying to comprehend.

Her heart stopped for a minute and she let out what seemed to be a yelp.  A weird sound escaped through her constricted throat.

The nurse held her shoulders in an embrace.

The doctor reassured her this is not the end.

Her future was blurred and she felt the words ringing in her ears “There’s no heartbeat”.

Momentarily she saw a dark cloud and her eyes fell shut.

She had lost the baby.

God said wait.

 

 

 

 

 

Styling Natural Hair on a Budget |Twist Outs

For the longest time twists have been one of the most functional protective hairstyles in the natural hair community. What’s even more exciting is achieving a twist out from this low-manipulative hairstyle.

Why are twists my favorite style?

  • Stretches hair and reduces tangles and knots.
  • Quite easy to install and unravel -to get a twist out.
  • Low-cost hairstyle

What you need:-

  1. Leave in Conditioner
  2. Moisturizer & Sealant (Oils)
  3. Curling butter/cream
  4. Crocodile clips (optional)
  5. Spray bottle (optional)

On freshly washed and detangled hair part it into 4 sections (or more). It’s a lot easier to work with kinky hair while in sections. The large twists prevent the hair from matting and tangling during washing and styling. Wring out excess water using an old t-shirt and leave it to air-dry.

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Freshly washed hair parted into four sections

While hair is still damp, take a dime-size amount of the leave-in conditioner and spread  along the length of hair starting from root to tip. I used Mikalla Leave-in Conditioner which is quite easy on the pockets and available across local beauty stores. The product was sufficiently moisturizing with moderate slip, however I wasn’t a fan of the smell because of the menthol ingredient. Otherwise it served its purpose of infusing extra moisture to my hair.

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Apply dime-size amount of leave-in conditioner on each of the 4 sections

The most important step is to seal all the moisture in. The reason we apply oils and butters/creams while hair is still damp is because water repels oils hence prevents that moisture (water) from escaping our strands. You can use the LOC or LCO method to lock in moisture. I employ the LCO method- Liquid (water or leave-in conditioner), Cream/ Butter, Oil and this has left my hair moisturized for days.

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Mazuri Organics Oly hair butter, a Kenyan Brand, came up with this amazing formula that consists of Shea butter, olive oil and black castor oil.  The first thing you notice with the butter is that it has a creamy consistency and melts on the hands thus providing good enough slip to spread across each strand. The smell is what sold it for me. If you’re a lover of yummy buttery smells, this product does you justice. The combination of these 3 pure ingredients promises you moisture, shine, strengthening hair, prevents breakage, boosts hair growth for only Kshs 600/=!

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A little goes a long way with the Mazuri hair butter. Part hair into smaller sections and apply just a small amount of this butter along the length of hair. Smoothen it out to ensure each strand is coated and twist up the hair. The product is easily absorbed into strands and since this butter already has oils in it, I didn’t find it necessary to add my mixture of oils. I ended up with around 10-15 twists and let my hair air dry until the following day.

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Chunky twists

The downside with this butter is that it can be a little heavy and greasy (depending on how heavy-handed you get) thus weighing down your hair. It also doesn’t mix well with other products especially styling gels as it leaves white flaky residue when dry. For this style I opted out from using a styling gel and minimized on the oils (coconut, EVOO, JBCO) and the overall result turned out quite well.

For best results ensure the twists are completely dry before unravelling. My hair was extremely moisturized, soft and supple. I had pretty good definition and this hairstyle lasted me 4 days without needing to re-moisturize my hair. No heat was used to achieve this style.

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Twist out with side Bantu Knots
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Good Shine on the twist out
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Nice definition as well!

Would you try this style at home? Do let me know how it turns out!

Lots of Love

xx

12 Lessons in 12 Months

1

It’s only been a day and a half into the new month but your girl here is ready to wrap things up. I feel like I have lived out 2017 already and want to hop into the new year. So desperately as Arsenal wanting to win a title. As much I am an advocate for living in the moment, there are a few lessons that I feel have been quite valuable this year.

1.Learn when to say NO

People tend to take advantage only when you let them. You don’t have to be OK with everything. Speak out and speak loud. No is just a two-lettered word.  How hard can it be?

2. Know your worth

God made you into a beautiful and wonderful being and He expects no less from you. Stop over-compromising for people who don’t deserve it. Do not lower your expectations to fit someone’s needs. There is quite a fine line between compromise and being taken for granted.

3. Do random things

There’s no greater joy than making positive change from your daily routine. Go for that hike, visit that orphanage, gatecrash a party, say hello to a stranger, dance the night out with your friends, scream at the top of your voice.

4. Not everyone on your team is your cheerleader

As you grow older, it will be harder for you to find genuine friends. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. Learn to separate grain from the chaff.

5. Spread Love, but be selfish with your heart.

Ever heard the saying love with your mind and not with your heart? Spread your love out to people who need it and guard your heart against those who want to rip it off your chest :p

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Melanin Poppin’

6. Tell your parents you love them. (Before it’s too late)

Stop reading. Pick up your phone, ring your parent(s) and tell them that you love them. If you are blessed to have both parents alive make it a habit to show them affection every now and then. They will not be with us forever.

7. Take Care of yourself

Honestly, go pamper yourself because you deserve it. Take a day off and relax. Sleep in one morning, get a facial, trim your nails, scrub your feet, visit a dentist, eat a balanced diet, have a healthy routine.

8. Learn a new skill set

With the ever-changing world trends, it’s very important to be multi-skilled. Your papers alone will not get you anywhere. Take advantage of the multitude of resources we have at our disposal. Make hay while the sun shines. Have fun while at it too.

9. Show Gratitude

I have ever met one person who says thank you for almost everything. Appreciate the small things around you. Say thank you to every little deed, even to people who are mean to you. Kill them with kindness. It never hurt nobody to show gratitude even in our worst moments.

10. Moisturize your hair often

I’m not even joking with this one. Most of you complain to me that your hair is not growing, that it’s genetic, and all that s**t. Honey, that hair won’t get past ear length because it’s thirsty! The grass is greener where you water it.

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No excuses!

11. Be proud of your achievements

I can never over-emphasize on this. There will ALWAYS be someone better than you. Take your little strides and give yourself credit for whatever little you achieve. Pat yourself on the back for knowing you were better than yesterday. Learn from those ahead of you but be your own competition. You are unique.

12. Put God at the center of everything

It’s almost the end of the year and what a journey it has been! You probably have seen the best and worst moments this year. Experienced many ups and downs. You are still alive. Still living, still breathing. All thanks to Him. Get down on your knees and praise Him each day. Call unto Him. Let God take the wheel. Let Him guide you.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”

Lots of Love,

MG.

xx

How to Use Henna for Hair Growth

One of the major causes of stunted hair growth is due to breakage. Aside from genetics, ever wondered why Asians have long lustrous hair? You are now filled in their little secret! Henna is widely known to strengthen and repair damaged hair and has natural properties that heals the scalp.

Nupur henna has been highly recommended as it contains 9 natural herbs all in one packet. Amla, Shikakai, Neem, Brahmi, Methi are just some of the ingredients in this product; definitely giving you value for your money.

All ingredients
All ingredients and tools needed

What You Need:

  1. Henna (200g) for medium sized hair.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. Mixing bowl (plastic or glass)
  4. Plastic spoon/fork
  5. Gloves
  6. Water (optional)

Step 1:

Add the powdered Henna to the mixing bowl.

Henna in bowl
Nupur Henna

Step 2:

Add the apple cider vinegar and mix using the plastic fork/spoon until you achieve a yoghurt-like consistency. Apple cider vinegar restores hair pH balance and also hastens the henna dye release.  Add water if apple cider vinegar is too harsh for you. Don’t let the mixture be too thick or too runny for ease of application.

Henna ready for application
Henna for Hair

Step 3:

Tightly seal the mixture and cover with aluminium foil or plastic bags (Kenyans you must have some hidden in the house despite the ban). Place the bowl in a warm place and let it sit preferably overnight to release the dye.

Tip: Make sure to prepoo hair overnight with coconut oil to prevent it from getting stripped of its moisture.

Step 4:

The following morning, co-wash hair. This allows you to cleanse hair without drying it out completely. Put on your gloves to avoid staining your nails and apply henna from root to tip making sure each strand gets coated.

Step 5:

Cover with a shower cap and add a scarf on top just to heat up the process. Stay with your henna for at least 4 – 5 hours.

Step 6:

Rinse off henna thoroughly with warm water, wash it off with a moisturizing shampoo. Follow up with your normal wash day routine ensuring to deep condition to restore moisture back to your strands.

Henna rinsed off
Look at the shine!

Pros:

  • Soft shiny sparkly hair.
  • Stronger strands.
  • Promotes hair growth by reducing breakage significantly.
  • Reduces scalp itchiness caused by dandruff.
  • *Loosens curl pattern (can be both a pro or con).

Cons:

  • Can get a little messy during application and can stain cloths, sinks and tubs.
  • Strong lingering smell on hair.

 

This was my first time using henna on my hair and I immediately saw the results. My hair was extremely strong, smooth and silky and I didn’t experience much breakage as I normally would during wash days.

I’ll incorporate henna to my hair regimen and use it at least once a month as a strengthening treatment for the next few months to improve the health of my hair.

Have you ever used henna before as a hair strengthening treatment? Do you plan to? Share your experience/thought below.

 

Connecting The Dots

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By the time you reach your mid-20’s most of you would have trodden through the journey of self-discovery. You will learn a lot about yourself and will evolve to a ‘new being’. Many will say you’ve changed but only you will know that you have discovered yourself.

Ever had that Eureka moment when life starts making sense? Bits and pieces picked up from different stages begin to show a pattern that leads you to self-discovery. I’ve always held the belief that we do not meet people or situations by accident whether good or bad. Every person we meet either for the long or short term has left a lesson to be learnt.  These lessons come out to shape and carve out the best in us. I have experienced major disappointments in life and it took me a while to understand why things happen as they do.

Immediately after my graduation I expected to get a really nice job instantly. I applied to several companies and was not called for a single interview. When one interview from a renowned company came through after several months of trying, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong that day. I had to travel to a different city for my job interview. The transport system I was using broke down in the middle of nowhere for several hours rendering me 2 hours late for my interview. Luckily my interviewers were very understanding. Being in a new city, I was confused, overwhelmed, got rained on a cold night and worse, did not get the job.

I could write a book of the several instances where I have questioned my purpose in life. I have cursed, rebelled, broken down, healed, laughed, transformed, grown. I realized I had the power to control my emotions and stopped beating myself up over things I had no control over. I took responsibility for the mistakes I made and worked towards mending my faults that could have contributed to my failures in life. At the time I didn’t comprehend that moving to a new city meant new responsibilities, new challenges, new people that I wasn’t quite ready for.

Where you are in life right now is not because of your inadequacy. I believe everyone has a bright light inside them. I for instance thought I’d end up in med school. My father infiltrated this thought in me since I was in my mother’s womb. He always talked about Ben Carson and how I should emulate him. He would give me the statistics of how many neurosurgeons are in Kenya. Basically it was drilled in me that I had to become a doctor. In high school I was appointed the Health/Dispensary Prefect. My teachers trusted me to treat my mates when the school’s nurse wasn’t available.

Now as a grown up, I understand that being trusted with such a position was not about scoring As in Chemistry and Biology. It’s the compassion they saw in me. God didn’t want me to become a doctor. He was preparing me to heal emotional wounds.

With such I always found myself joining clubs and societies revolving around First Aid, Red Cross, Peer Counseling etc. Despite not making it to med school I still found myself participating in humanitarian activities. I became engrossed in learning human behavior. I picked an interest behavioral psychology but never pursued it as a major and ended up with a Communications degree.

I have been thrust in a field that I typically enjoy. Maybe if I made it to med school I wouldn’t be blogging. I wouldn’t have the time to sit and counsel people. I’d probably be too tired to even make anyone feel comfortable telling me their deepest secrets.

Finding purpose and direction is quite fulfilling. Surround yourself with people whom you share similar goals with. People who value having real and honest conversations and are not afraid of the truth. People who challenge you to take new steps each day. Have a support system and always be their support system.

Everywhere you’ve been, every person you’ve met has made a mark in your life. Life doesn’t come with a manual. Connect YOUR little dots. It could be straight or crooked, curving up or down. What matters is what you make from it. Donge?

Wishing you the very best in your journey of self-discovery.

MG.

 

 

6 Easy Natural Hairstyles

Maintaining a neat look with natural hair can be a daunting task. Most women find it difficult to wear their natural hair to work or social places because of the ‘unkempt’ nature of type 4 hair.

While I agree that styling natural hair requires patience, some styles take lesser time and are quite eye-catching. Our hair is very versatile and can be worn on any occasion while still maintaining a professional chic look.

 I compiled some of the easiest hairstyles you can achieve at home sans heat.

  • The Twist Out

Neat twist out

This has to be my all time favorite and go-to style for most weekends. While it is not your typical protective style considering your ends are not protected, I wear this style for a maximum of two days.

How to achieve this look: After freshly washing your hair, seal using your preferred curling cream or Shea Butter. I used Shea Coco which is easily available in Mombasa. Twist your hair into medium twists and air dry. Unravel the twists only when they are completely dry. Carefully separating each twist to avoid frizz. Fluff to your desired size.

  • The Pineapple/High Puff

The Pineapple

This is the easiest hairstyle and takes just two minutes to pull. I mostly wear this style when my twist out gets old. This though should not be done consistently as the stress on the edges will cause a receding hairline. However you don’t have to pull your band so tight. It should just be secure enough to hold your hair into place.

How to achieve this look: Spritz water lightly along the perimeter of your hair and apply coconut oil. Brush it using a soft bristle brush. You can optionally apply ecostyler gel around the edges of your hair to achieve a sleek do.

  • French Flat twist

French Flat Twist

This is a classic modern look and can turn heads if done well. It is a protective style and can last up to 4 days. You can add hair extensions to increase the length of the pigtails. For a person who can’t cornrow, this is definitely the style for you.

How to achieve this look: It’s easier on stretched hair. Part two pieces and twist as you would any normal twist but grabbing hair as you go along. It’s quite hard to explain but you can watch tutorials online especially from Margiey Akinyi on how to flat twist.

  • The double bun

Double bunning it

This 90s style is back with a bang and is currently very fashion forward. It will minus several years to your age so be careful with the crowd you want to attract with this hairstyle. It is best achieved with medium – long hair but if you have short hair you can add clip-ins to give it a bulky look.

How to achieve this look: Part your hair in the middle, moisturize and sleek down the edges using gel. Tie each side with an ouchless hairband and secure the buns with bobby pins so that they don’t fall off. You can position the buns either high on the head or lower like I did.

  • Wash n’ go

Wash n' go

This is the easiest hairstyle with little to no effort at all. As the name suggests, it’s literally washing your hair and off you go! I tried this style at least twice and despite the massive shrinkage I love how it naturally shapes itself into a cute fro.

How to achieve this look: Wash hair and loc using products of your choice. Whip your hair back and forth in all directions to fluff it and also allow the curls to clump together. Let is air dry for best results.

  • Rugged fro

Wild n' Free

This hairstyle is only for those who dare to be different. It has quite a rebellious touch to it. There are neater ways to do it but I like it looking rough and rugged just to show my edgy side.  To give it a softer look, you can add a flower crown and you turn from rebel to cute.

How to achieve this look: On a very old twistout, moisturize and shape as desired, You can pick your roots using an afro pick to make the fro bigger to your desired size.

There you have it. 6 effortless hairstyles that can be worn on a daily basis. And if you haven’t noticed, no comb and no heat is required for any of these styles therefore maintaining healthy hair while looking amazing. Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments section below.

Lots of Love!

MG