This blog was created to serve as an inspiration to all who read aspire, to love and to live a life of purpose.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Interesting Read: Why Successful People Leave their Loser Friends Behind

I've always been really particular about people I surround myself with. I make it a point to surround myself with people who enrich my life and whose lives I can enrich as well. I am a mentor to some and a mentee to others. More so, for my closest friends, we are both to each other.

 People you keep around you inspire or break you....pick them wisely. This is my mindset "if your presence in my life can't bring value to my life, your absence won't make a difference". Don't misunderstand me- I'm not preaching being a snob because I'm not. All I'm saying is that when it comes to close friends, life partners and people whose opinions matter to you and your life choices, choose people who will make you better and spend more time with them.  They will lift you higher; spiritually, career-wise and emotionally. The less time you spend with losers, the more peacefully successful you become. 

I've blogged about this concept enough times for my readers to know how much positivity and upwardness means to me and my life's journey; First, in my Curse of the Negatives post, then in my 7 Mechanics of True Friendship and The Power of Encouragement posts.
But I came across an article by Brenton Weyi today and he couldn't said it any better. uch an interesting read and the gospel of my life. Interestingly enough, my brother and I had a prolonged conversation about this same topic a few days ago. Enjoy :-)

We all want to be amazing. We all want to be successful, happy, and regarded as important figures in our fields. I am sure that you’ve heard all of the keys to success before: planning, hard work, perseverance, etc.
But today we are going to look at the one factor that will likely make or break your success: the people you surround yourself with.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

The Make or Break List

A good friend of mine once told me of a man he knows who brought himself up from rags to riches.  Living paycheck to paycheck was a luxury for this man, and he decided that he was tired of being trapped by his own life. The poor man looked around at his friends, and noticed that one of them – who wasn’t particularly smart or more talented – had become quite wealthy. He asked this man how he accrued this wealth, how he was able to become a millionaire. The wealthy man’s response was simple: “keep the right company.”
The man took that advice to heart. He quickly noticed that all of the other friends he had hated hard work and had no desire to improve themselves. So he sought out new friends, he went around to conventions and seminars to connect with people who had made something of themselves. After he had completely replaced the people in his network, he decided to make a list. This list was simple. It had a column for people who would improve his life, and a column for people who would drag him down.
If someone could improve his life, he spent as much time around them as possible. If someone could drag him down, he never spent more than five minutes around them. After following his “make or break” list, the man was able to become a millionaire within three years.

No One Does It Alone

Better Friends Help To Be SuccessfulThe five-minute rule may be a little extreme, but there is an important lesson to learn from it: if you surround yourself with positive people who build you up, the sky is the limit.
There is an ideal in our society of the “self-made” man – a man who is able to find success through his own efforts. Now, don’t get me wrong, success does require an immense amount of determination and personal grit. However, success also depends on the ability to connect with people who have already made it.
There was once a man named Ernest Hemingway. If you aren’t familiar with Ernest Hemingway, he was one of the greatest American writers of all time. Even a great writer like Hemingway didn’t succeed on his own. He worked at a newspaper where his boss – a writer named Sherwood Anderson – helped him get his first novel published. Hemingway then connected with other no-name writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce.
This community of great writers helped to influence his style, success, and drove him to write every single day and become one of the greatest authors of his generation.
Hemingway is a testament to the fact that innate talent alone does not equal success. It’s hard to keep up a strict schedule to perfect your craft or improve yourself if you don’t have people around you with similar interests. Your network – your five key people – will determine the way you think, the way you act, and the way you approach your life goals.

Three Essential People

A mentor once told me that no matter how many close people you have in your network, if you want to be truly great, you must have three essential people in your life at all times: 
  1. A person who is older and more successful than you to learn from
  2. A person who is equal to you to exchange ideas with
  3. A person below you to coach and keep you energized
A great figure of history who embodied this principle was Aristotle. Aristotle was one of the greatest minds to ever grace this beautiful Earth, but this was only so because he was constantly challenging himself and working to refine his talents. He exchanged ideas with other Greek philosophers in the “Academy,” learned from his mentor Plato, and taught a young boy named Alexander…who would later become “Alexander the Great.”
Every great person was, is, or will be successful because of the company he or she keeps. They will make an impact because of a successful network of driven peers who provide both inspiration and healthy competition.
If you want to be remarkable, you must constantly challenge yourself and surround yourself with remarkable people. So think about what your goals are, and take a look around you. Do you need to write a “make or break” list? Do you have the kind of people who are going to lead you to live the life of your dreams?
Don’t join an easy crowd. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform and achieve are high.” – Jim Rohn

Strive to be better. Strive to be more. Strive to be amazing.

Have a blessed week....& Stay Inspired...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How Do You Decide Who to Marry

I read this article written by Chris Hughes today and thought it was hilarious. Marriage and picking the right partner is such "serious" business, sometimes it helps to see it in its simplest form, through the mind of kids.
So...A group of young kids were asked how to decide who to marry and here are the results which
are pretty amusing.

It may be pretty old though but read and chuckle with me, anyway...

(1) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
- Alan, age 10
(2) No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
- Kristen, age 10


(1) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
- Camille, age 10
(2) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
- Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)


(1) You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
- Derrick, age 8


(1) Both don’t want any more kids.
- Lori, age 8


(1) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
- Lynnette, age 8 (isn’t she a treasure)
(2) On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that Usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
- Martin, age 10


(1) I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
-Craig, age 9


(1) When they’re rich.
- Pam, age 7
(2) The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
- Curt, age 7
(3) The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
- Howard, age 8


(1) I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing. I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.
- Theodore, age 8
(2) It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
- Anita, age 9 (bless you child)


(1) There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
- Kelvin, age 8
And the #1 Favorite is……..


(1) Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
- Ricky, age 10
They hit some good points, didn't they?
Have a great weekend
Stay Inspired....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Red Carpet Fashion: 2013 MTV Movie Awards

The 22nd annual MTV Movie Awards held last night in Los Angeles. Even though celebrities weren't as glammed up as they'd be for the Oscars, Emmys or Grammys, there were quite a lot of "fashion statements". 

And to be honest with you, I only noticed a few "celebrities" on here. Or maybe my celebrity watch-list is think?
Selena Gomez
Kylie Jenner
When did she get soo "grown"?
Zachary Quinton
Kim Kardashian
Ariana Grande
Skyler Astin
Kara Hayward

Chloe Moretz
Melissa McCarthy
Zoe Saldana
I think J-Woww's dress is the same dress (in a different color )I wore as a bridesmaid for my cousin's wedding two weekends ago. See it here.
Jordana Brewster 
Eddie Redmayne

Brittany Snow

Kylie Minogue 
Steve Carell

Bella Thorne
Beau Mirchoff
Karina Smirnoff
Quvenzhane Wallis

Sammi Giancola
Hayley Williams

The Situation 
Alexa Vega

Lauren Miller and Seth Rogen
Emma Watson 

Vinny Guadagnino and Melanie Iglesias
Hana Mae Lee
Yes, I had to look closer too.
Crystal Reed
Will Ferrell
Tyler Posey 
Holland Roden
Jamie Foxx and daughter Corinne Bishop
 And the best dressed goes to....
Kerry Washington in Michael Kors!

To Be or Not to Be ~ A Guide for Bridesmaids & Their Brides

As you know, two weeks ago, I was a bridesmaid for my cousin. That was my 6th run and my 7th one is coming up in August. I think I have to hang up my bridesmaid tassel and retire after that. Come to think of it, none of my 4 closest friends are married yet, so I'm probably not done as of yet. So, strictly speaking, before the end of my lifetime, I may very well have been a bridesmaid at least 11 times. Can we not talk about this? *sigh*

In fact, I'm beginning to fear the "99 dresses-always a bridesmaid" syndrome. *covers face*
My bridesmaid collage
Growing up and watching my aunties and their friends be bridesmaids, it seemed so fun and cool and I couldn't wait to grow up to wear the pretty dress, hair and make-up and get to look pretty. Believe or not, I also wondered how each groomsman was paired with a bridesmaid and if they ever ended up married. Yea yea yea I had a curious mind as a child. In fact, a bit of my curiosity was satisfied when one of my uncles married the maid of honor at a wedding where he was the best man. 

Fast forward to today. Being a bridesmaid, when done the right way, is not a ride in the park. I was a bridesmaid first in 2006 and boy, was I shocked to learn that I had to pay for my dress and shoes. I made peace with it and chucked it up to being an American thing. And its pardonable if you consider how much it really costs to have a wedding in America.  But these days, it seems be true for weddings in Nigeria too.  In fact, I've only been in one wedding where the bride bought my dress.  The wedding industry stays booming especially in the summer months (Christmas, New Years and Easter months for Nigeria) and couples go into hefty debt just for their big day. Some couples don't even make it to the big day, thanks to the stress of wedding planning but that's a story for another day. the spirit of the onset of wedding season, and to put my "bridesmaid-pro" status to your benefit, I have decided to not only tell you everything you need to know about being a perfect bridesmaid, but to share some tips for the bride as well. See how much I care? ;-)

I've heard soo many bridesmaid-horror stories. Bride v. bridesmaids. Bridesmaids v. Bridesmaids. I've heard it all. In fact, I've been in a wedding where the maid of honor and the bride's BFF-ship didn't survive the wedding and in a few where bridesmaids left the wedding not talking to each other. 

So this post is not only for bridesmaids. This is for brides as well.  The goal here is for good relationships/friendships to survive past the wedding. Think "AMICABLE".

So let me get to it...

From the moment the bride pops the question, you should be thinking about what being a bridesmaid entails...EXPENSES! Budget that you'd (most likely) be responsible for your dress, your shoes and the bride's bachellorette. In some case, you'd need to pay for your hair and make up too.  So, be prepared to spend money.

In my experience, I find it easier to spend money when I actually really really care about the bride, in question. So, if you know you don't care enough/can't do it, gracefully bow out. Also, before you say yes, you want to make sure you can make the wedding. Ask the bride for the date and location before you commit. You don't want to say yes, then have to cancel on the bride. 
Side Tip: Bride, I shouldn't have to say that you should be careful about who you put on your bridal train. Choose people who care about you AND ask nicely. Trust that when the going gets tough, they are the ones who'll set aside their emotions to make your day special. Please, trust me on this. 

This is the most important ingredient to any wedding. Brides, as soon as you have a wedding party assembled, create an email list where the bridesmaids can virtually "meet", bounce off ideas and make decisions regarding the entire outfit. And put your maid of honor or one of the bridesmaids who is organized in charge of the list. Google docs can also be helpful for this. 

Side Tip: Bridesmaids, when preparing for the big day, here's the checklist (dress, shoes, makeup, hair, and jewelry). 

Bridesmaids, buy your dress early! because it takes time to come. I ordered my bridesmaids dress for the wedding in August 2 months ago and I still haven't received it. If the bride forgets to mention her plans for anything on the checklist one month before the wedding, ask what her plans are! You don't want to be surprised with any last minute expenses. Also, ask what time rehearsal is-this will help you book your flight. honest AND proactive. If you don't like the dress, or anything else, don't just sit around and complain, ask the bride early what her ideas are about it and offer to help look for something you can both agree on. Do NOT make the bride do all the work, then be mad at her for her choices.

Granted, its always better to be in a wedding train where all the bridesmaids are friends. Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen like this. Bridesmaids, in communicating with the other bridesmaids, please leave off the "stuck-up" attitude. Keep in mind that your sole and unified purpose is to be there for the bride. The wedding is not an opportunity to compete with other girls/women. Instead, its a chance to make new friends and have fun. Remember this.
Bride, please understand that your bridesmaids are doing you a favor by sacrificing so much to support you on your big day. For this reason, if only, treat them with respect. It's your big day, yes, But there's life after. You don't want to ruin your friendships because you are too self-centered, demanding and  rude. You are stressed, we understand but there is absolutely no excuse for "bridezilla" behavior. Appreciate what your bridesmaids are doing for you. 

Side Tip: Buy your bridesmaids something simple (and inexpensive) nice to show appreciation. My sister got her bridesmaids simple colored beach slippers to say "thank you". It made us all feel special. 

Also, in making your demands, even though I'm sure you've planned since you were 5 how you want your bridesmaids to look, consider that not all dresses or hair styles look good on everyone. 
Let's be honest; if a bride chose this dress, I may just gracefully decline -_-
In picking both the dress and hair style "reasonably" seek second opinion from a reasonable person. Especially, when you're not paying for your "demands" of the bridesmaids, remember they have their own lives/expenses too and not everyone can afford that expensive but hideous dress (they'd never wear again) you are requiring them to buy. 

Side Tip: Bride, if they must buy the $150 dress + pay for your bachelorette, maybe pay for their jewelry and make up or at the very least, give them the color/shade of shoe you want, but allow them wear something they already have. 
To be honest, I really dislike uniform bridesmaid shoes chosen solely by the bride. I have at least 3 "bridesmaids shoes" chilling in my closet. I'd probably never ever wear them again. 

Side Tip: If your bridesmaids must wear the same shoes, give them options and an opportunity to choose. Even if they can't all agree on one, let majority carry the vote. One disgruntled bridesmaid is better than all. 

 4. In light of that, I feel the need to remind bridesmaids; THIS WEDDING ISN'T ABOUT YOU. Understand that you may have to compromise on some of your personal preferences. You can't win it all. I've had to do that many a time. In both my sisters' weddings, I had to put my hair in a bun (which I really dislike but did as an act of compromise) and in my recent cousin's wedding, I had to put in a weave (which I'd never done). 

Leading up to the wedding, understand the bride has a million and one things on her mind; don't burden her with your problems. Yes, I understand you are flying to a whole different state for the wedding but please do NOT and I repeat, do NOT expect her to pick you up from the airport the day before. It's a NO-NO. Also, most times, the bride will book a hotel room for all the bridesmaids; this is awesome but make your own back-up plans. If your dress doesn't fit, tell the bride only to get her tailor's information from her; and not simply to complain. Remember your goal is to minimize stress on the bride. 

Side Tip: Try to get your dress shipped to wherever you are incase you need alterations. One time, my dress was shipped to the bride and I had to wait to get it the day before the wedding. When I went to get it altered, I was told it'd be ready in a week. I had to miss the rehearsal dinner just to scrabble for another tailor to alter it. 

5. Remember your role- BRIDESMAID!
The word says it all - "Bride's Maid". Appreciate the importance of the day, FOR HER. Your role is to "serve" her, for the day. Your time will come. Serve well and be served well in return. 
On the day of the wedding, at every turn, your priority is making sure the bride is taken care of. Do whatever you need to do to make sure she's comfortable; help her get dressed, take her cell phone and take her calls, touch up her lipgloss, tell her she looks beautiful and help her change into her evening outfit, if need be. Constantly ask what you can do to help. If its a Nigerian wedding, and there's no one helping to pick money, please do. Whatever you can do to make this day worry-free for her, do it! 

One time, my bride-friend was really uncomfortable and feeling itchy in the fitting of her dress, I literally had to bend down, raise her heavy wedding dress, put my hands under her dress to scratch her back, then adjust her dress to fit better. Any other day, it would've been really weird. 

Having said that, I understand as a bridesmaid, you want to look pretty; perhaps pick up a handsome groomsman. But prioritize well...and you can do both ;-)

That's it oh. Did I leave anything out? Comment away. I'm so excited for wedding season. I have 3 more weddings this season (one of which I'll be a bridesmaid in) and I LOVE weddings. Yippie! 

Cheers to wedding season! May yours be fun AND memorable! 

Stay Inspired...