Thursday, January 19, 2017

Five Important Tips For Getting Married On A Budget

Bridal, Son In Law, Marriage, Wedding, ShoesI have never been much of a party planner.
To start with, attending the party itself is a lot to ask of me, not to mention planning it.
Do you know how much goes into what may turn out to be just two or three hours mini trip outside one’s house? All that traffic wading and flawless look goals we are made to aspire to these days? God forbid you don’t apply the right shade of lipstick or that you use the kind of foundation that doesn’t match your complexion. How about the many uncomfortable dress styles just to ‘slay’           (everything has to be on point for nice ‘shareable’ pictures for Facebook and the gram).
See, don’t even get me started. I can state a thousand reasons why I will rather stay back at home being tugged on both ends by my energetic toddler and infant, while I try very much to focus on the 100th rerun of ‘The Fighting Temptation’.

Realistically though, parties are a big part of our society and there are some of them we cannot even escape like weddings, funerals etc. I must also add that parties are actually capable of releasing some really cheerful hormones that can make one forget one’s worries in the moment. Parties make long lasting memories like I remember the velvet puffy gown I wore to my Uncle’s wedding when I was seven. In my small mind, I felt I pulled off looking like a royalty but I digress.
Forget hiring a planner or whatever works for you, the best you can do for ‘unwilling guests’ such as myself that sacrificed their ‘solitude’ and many other things they could have been doing to turn up at your party is to throw a really good one.

I am yet to watch the wedding party (please, no spoilers, I’ll get to it soon as I can psyche my lil sis to babysit for one night while I go to indulge) but I can tell from the trailer that throwing that kind of party isn’t cheap.
If you follow our posts here , you would have read a couple of articles that advice for one not to spend all of one’s life savings on the wedding, because there is life just after that and money is a very important aspect of that life.

There are ways you can cut expenses but you need to understand that that the most important thing is to have a plan.There are other thrifty ideas that you can employ while preparing for your wedding.

1.       Your wedding gown: my mum’s wedding gown sits in one inglorious corner of her wardrobe looking like a waste of much needed space and if it wasn’t for the subliminal hoarding spirit she possesses or that extra sentimental nature most of us possess, I am sure that gown would have been disposed by now. Mine also suffered the same fate. Bottomline, these piece of clothing are not worth all those hundreds of thousands we spend on it and if you just rid yourself of all those sentimental reasons, you should consider renting one  or looking for a much cheaper one.

2.       Invites: I was watching  The Real  the other day when Adrienne Baillon mentioned that she opted for invites via email for her wedding as opposed to the traditional way of using paper cards. This is a really smart move and a lot of money can get saved this way too because I remember spending a decent amount getting packets of those kind of cards for my wedding. In retrospect, that money could have been spent on other things and we could have saved the earth by being more ‘energy’ conscious(let’s face it, we thrash those cards, even the very artistic ones). There are e-invite sites that do great jobs of reminders and helping to keep track of guestlist.

3.       Venue: Oh please! Don’t get me started on just how much money this can consume, you should consider using an outside space at little or no cost. If you have a really large compound, all you would need is a tent .You can also carry your local councillor along to see if you can extend your tents on the roads around you in case your compound isn’t large enough. It is really the experience that matters; there is nothing cool about a venue if the food and entertainment is rubbish, so save some money and concentrate on other things. Take the weather into consideration before taking this decision.

4.       Shoes: this can be worth a sum and people might not even notice it, making it a waste of cash.  Adrienne on  The Real mentioned that she didn’t have to buy shoes because she had a very long gown on, making the shoes invisible. So, since most wedding gowns are long and flowing, thereby concealing one’s shoes, you might save yourself some cash by just using an old pair.

5.       Encourage your friends to give gifts that can be used towards the wedding e.g if you have a really chatty friend that can hold a crowd down, why not ask him/her to be the MC. I am not saying to compromise your standards but there are some things that can be crossed off the list if you look in your circle of friends.

I can’t exhaust this really; I would love to learn from your experiences. Kindly share what you did differently that saved you or made you some extra money towards your wedding.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Four Ways You Are Creating Communication Problems In Your Relationship

One of the biggest issues surrounding relationships (friendships included) is communication. Most of the relationship issues I have heard, read, and watched all boil down to that one seemingly tiny factor called communication. This is rather interesting when one looks at it from the inception of the relationship where communication was not an issue, and both parties seemed to understand each other perfectly. How then do people get to the point of not communicating effectively and ruining their relationships? I'll share four ways with you.

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#1 You expect your partner to know you so well without you saying a word: So many people want to be read like books, rather than listened to like music. Sadly, people are barely patient enough to read books, not to mention study it in depth to understand it. Some people want their partners to know them so well without them having to say a word. How adorably infantile. As a grown up, not communicating who you are, what you like, what you cannot tolerate and what you cannot give in to will end up creating communication problems with your partner. You cannot act like you are OK with things and then start acting up expecting your partner to get the hint that you are not OK. You cannot expect to act like  a crying baby while your partner runs around trying breastfeeding, a variety of toys, TV and a rocking chair. If you cannot speak up, expect a pacifier to be stuck in your mouth in no time.

#2 You expect your partner to know now: This is the core reason of every miscommunication - expecting the other person to already know what you like and what you don't like. It is a cute assumption to make and a destructive one too. It is the mother of all communication problems in relationships - assuming that if your partner has taken his or her time to study you, they will know what to do, what not to do, when not to do what they ought not to do... the whole nine yards. Oh yes! Your partner knows you, but your partner is not a programmed robot. Your partner will err on the side of what he or she should already know more times than you can count. Be ready to say again very calmly what or how you feel, why you feel that way, and why you would not like to be in a similar situation again. Keeping quiet, keeping malice... those things don't help. Next point...

#3 Sulking and malice: Question: whatchu doing honey? Sulking and malice have never resolved anything, and believe me when I say they only work the first couple of times. Afterwards, the guilt trip fades, the pity party ends, and your partner will be glad to leave you to your vices while they go spend time with more vibrant, 'more alive' people (because you know, to sulk effectively, you need to act like you are dead and not respond to anything). Instead of sulking every single time, state very clearly what you feel. Your partner is very likely to want to discuss things with you if you approach them with boldness and maturity. If you keep up the sulking and the malice, it is only a matter of time before your partner starts to seek better companionship elsewhere.

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# 4 Not listening: I tell people the only shouting match I want to be a part of is one where we are both supporting our football teams. The other shouting match? Thanks but no thanks. Many people end up in shouting matches because they were not listening to the other person to begin with. Some people hear their partners, pick an uttered phrase, take it out of the context of the discussion and ka boom! the floors begin to vibrate. Take time to listen IN CONTEXT. Stop listening to respond with a thought you've already stored somewhere in the back of your brain as the perfect backlash. Listen to respond to the situation at hand.

Have a great day XOXO

Monday, January 16, 2017

Life Lessons from "The Queen of Katwe" Movie

The Queen of Katwe is a movie based on the true story of a young girl Phiona Mutesi from a rural part of Uganda who went on to master the skill of playing chess in her teenage years, despite the challenges her circumstances presented. The movie struck a chord in my heart from the very beginning to the end, and made me realize that many of the lessons contained in it could be beneficial to those hoping to make giant strides in this new year. I'll try not to include any spoilers but I can't promise anything.

Image result for queen of katwe school chess scene

#1 Curiosity is the mother of growth: So many people are content with knowing just what they know and are not interested in learning anything new. In spite of the fast-paced world we live in, many people are content to remain stuck with what they are good at, never willing to venture into what they could learn if they expressed a little bit of curiosity.

#2 You should not care about the material possessions you lack. The wealth of knowledge you carry is all that matters. Comparing yourself to others in terms of material possessions will only result in an inferiority complex. Stand tall wherever you are and embrace the wealth of knowledge you possess.

#3  Take criticism in good stride: Many people die even from constructive criticism; the arrogance we tend to have in ourselves is so much that we wouldn't take criticism even if it was meant to make us better. There's a scene in the movie where the other children at the Chess club told Phiona (the Queen of Katwe) that she had an unpleasant odour. She didn't fight back or try to find something she could insult them with. She went home and took a bath! My eyes widened at that scene. Lesson learned - not every criticism is bad; and not every criticism deserves a backlash. Sometimes do what is necessary to improve yourself.

#4 Realize the value of purpose: One of the very admirable characters in this story is the chess coach, Robert Katende - a man who was a qualified engineer, and was offered a job as an engineer which he refused to accept. He chose to remain a chess coach and work with a ministry outreach instead. He was more connected to his purpose than he was to the prospect of earning more money while living an unfulfilled life. The saddest thing in life is a life without fulfilment (paraphrasing Dr Myles Munroe here). Sometimes you may have to accept lesser pay to walk the path of your purpose, but trust me when I say you will not feel like you are missing a thing.

Image result for Katende and wife queen of katwe scenes
#5 Choose a partner who values purpose: There are many remarkable people in this story, and one of them is Robert Katende's wife - a woman who on hearing that her husband declined an offer from the engineering firm to continue coaching children as part of the ministry outreach, quickly reminded him of the importance of following his dreams and walking in his purpose. Now who does not want a partner like that?!

#6 Don't be out of rhythm: It is important to take note of the positive trends around us and allow ourselves to take part in them. One of the sad characters in this story is that of Phiona's sister who became a victim of circumstances, rather than a proponent of possibility. Lesson learned: Learn to be a part of positive rhythms rather than a subject of adverse circumstances

#7 Don't ever give up and surround yourself with those who won't let you! There were times when Phiona gave up. There were times she couldn't do it anymore, times when she wanted to go back to selling maize - back to the life she knew even though it yielded nothing, but from her mother, her coach, her brother and even her neighbours came the encouragement that awakened fresh zeal within her everytime she gave up. She didn't win all her games, but she had a mother who was willing to do anything to make her succeed. She had neighbours who said "you will win next time". She surrounded her self with positivity. Before she became a master at chess, she did not give up on learning. She listened to those who were designated to teach her, and she mastered the skill by going further and learning to read.

Image result for Katende and wife queen of katwe scenes Image result for Katende and wife queen of katwe scenes

Phiona went from being an illiterate maize seller to a female candidate chess master at 17. You have no excuse. XOXO

Sunday, January 8, 2017

If You Want A Submissive Wife, Do This!

Submission is fast losing its popularity; many ‘modern’ women are against it, many young men blame the new age feminist movement for the lack of ‘wife materials’, and many people continue to lament the death of the cultural model  that worked for couples in the past- a submissive wife and an assertive husband. It can be agreed, based on the numerous articles written on the subject of submission, that the phenomenon of submission as it was and is currently understood, is dying and a new form of submission is emerging – one that many young men are not embracing for fear of being labelled supporters of the feminist movement they very clearly despise.

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But submission does not have to die in this modern age, and the lack of ‘submissive’ women cannot be blamed on feminism. Women, even the new age feminists, are not men haters, nor are they seeking men they can control. On the contrary, these women are seeking real leaders and if you as a young man would like to build a functional family with a woman who mutually respects and cares for you, this is what you ought to do.

You have to treat your wife as an equal and establish a mutual vision with her for your family

This is where many young men of today fail. The idea of leadership is so misinterpreted in the minds of young men today, that they think leadership is an imposition of their will and their decisions on the women they marry, without first engaging in a mature discussion. This is where the rebellion comes in; this is where the wives revolt; this is where what is often described as the ‘anti-family’ form of feminism comes in, and everything goes to hell.

If you want to build a stable functional family with a wife who partners with you in every way, then you must treat that wife as a real partner. You must be willing to build a mutual foundation of understanding based on which all issues are resolved, and all decisions are made. If you want a wife who follows your lead, you have to first be a leader. To be a leader, you must be emotionally intelligent. Emotional intelligence does not come from impositions, threats or creating emotional distress for the woman in your life. Such a woman, even if she appears submissive, will only do so out of fear, not out of love. And fear does not birth happiness. It births rebellion, hatred and eventually a breakdown of the family. No woman with a good head on her shoulders will follow a man who cannot lead. 

Build your family on the right foundation of leadership and you will never have to worry about submission. XOXO 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Leave These Habits In 2016!

As the year rolls to an end, as it custom for me, I take time to reflect on battles won, blessings received, friends made, and the impact I have had on those around me. Most importantly, I take time to go through the junk I may have accumulated during the course of the year – the conference programme I’m still holding on to five months later, the pair of shoes I know I won’t wear ever again because they just made my feet sore, the non-directional associations I may have built and the habits I developed against better judgement.

What I have come to realize is that during the course of every year, we accumulate things – the things we need, the things we want, and the things other people tell us we should have – habits included. Some people tell us to be more dramatic in our approach when we want to confront someone who has hurt us (like we need to pull one of those cheaters show confrontations to prove we are not stupid); some people tell us we need to be more mellow in how we talk about our dreams, and of course others deposit the seed of self-doubt in us by pointing out the things we are not so great at. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that we accumulate a lot of stuff- the necessary and the unnecessary, and it is important to shed some of the weight if we intend to win in the New Year. To win in 2017, I advise that you leave these behind.

Image result for self doubt
You are more capable than you think
#1 Self-doubt: I can write you a book about self-doubt and how crippling it is, because I have experienced it. Many people seem to stand firm, but one negative word from a person they believe is better than they are sends them into the pit of doubt, and causes them to forget about the pursuit they were so passionate about. If that’s you, it is time to reawaken the zeal and come back with a bang. Whatever anyone has said is not the final say. You may not be as good as they are, but you surely would not get there by giving up. Get up, dust yourself off and ease back into the path of your dream. Faith it till you make it!

#2 The leaf-on-a-lake mentality: Have you ever seen a leaf on a flowing lake? It goes wherever the lake goes. It is pushed in the direction of the lake irrespective of what the destination of the lake is. This is what many people have become in 2016, and are planning to continue with in 2017 – swayed by the opinions of friends, frenemies, colleagues, and even strangers, simply because they want to be accepted. If you cannot be accepted as you are by those you spend time with, you need new company. Sure, they are positive tweaks that can be made to your personality based on constructive conversations with friends; but that should not lead to a mob mentality. Don’t accept something is right because everyone around you says to. Don’t give up simply because the popular opinion is that you are about to tread a difficult path. The popular opinion is not necessarily the right one or the wise one for that matter. Be woke for your own sake. Don’t let others tell you how your life should play out.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Single Parenting - Something to be Ashamed Of

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I hope this post encourages single mothers and gets people talking openly about the struggles single mothers face in society. 

There is something about being a single parent that makes people perceive you as ugly, irresponsible and a failure, especially if you are a woman. You are considered to be an easy catch and will very often receive indecent offers from men who believe you will give it all up at the blink of an eye, and if a baby comes out of that rendezvous, you will care for that child, because you know, you are simply built for this single parenting life. Of course men do not necessarily face this type of stigma - a single father is very often a celebrated hero; a single mother on the other hand is easy prey for malicious tongue-lashing.

This explains why many women are afraid of leaving unhappy relationships and abusive marriages when children are involved. This explains why so many women feel threatened by the words "you will end up a single mother", much more than they are by the words "I will kill you if you keep annoying me." Many women would rather be pummeled to death than leave and be single parents because single parenting for the average woman is something to be ashamed of. It highlights the inability to keep a man happy; it indicates irresponsible behavior that led to an unwanted pregnancy that you were too ashamed to terminate. It has the makings of a woman who was loose and will remain so. So may malicious stereotypes held against single mothers make it difficult for many women to walk away from life-threatening relationships. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Four Types of Good People You Should Not Marry

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Everyone wants to marry a good person; I strongly doubt people wake up in the morning and pray to God for an abusive partner who takes them for granted and makes their life hell. Surely, no one asks for that. People want a partner who's not shy with the loving or stingy with the cherishing. People want a partner who is God-fearing, sweet-natured, understanding, tolerant and mature. And if you find a person who embodies all these traits, you've hit the jackpot. However, do you know that you can meet a person who embodies all these traits, yet does not fit into your life?

This post is about the four types of good people you should not bother dating. 

#1 The people who are skilled at talking but not skilled at doing: There are many people out there who are amazing and have the core of sweetness embedded in them but they are the most frustrating partners you will ever have. They thrive on talking about what they want to do, and where they want to do. These are the people who dream and speak about those dreams more than they actually do anything about them. Provide them with the resources they actually need to get started and you'll see them pull away, citing a thousand and one excuses as to why they can't do it 'just yet'. Spouses like this make relationships unsustainable. They create a lot of hope but you will never see that hope materialize into anything substantial. Instead, you will be faced with a dull reality filled with ambition but zero action.

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